Snow snow and more snow!

I haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been busy dealing with snow.  Lots of snow.  I am so sick of snow.  Last week, on Wednesday, the whole state was preparing for anywhere from 6-15 inches of snow.  I didn’t want to get stuck at home with nothing to do for several days, so on my way home from work on Wednesday, I stopped at the Dollar Store to pick up some important supplies.  Some people stopped to get bread, milk and butter but I stopped to get crayons, glue and pompoms.  A friend of mine had suggested getting a “snow day bin” together to pull out on days when you’re stuck inside and need fun things to do with your toddler.  I was determined to have fun and to not get cabin fever.  Well it seemed to work!

Luckily, Ken was also off on Thursday because of the snow.  He did have to get a lot of studying done too, but he had time to play with us a bit, which was nice!  Julia is a big fan of the snow.  2.18.2014(26)She loved playing in the snow so much that she cried when we had to bring her back inside.  Surprisingly the cold didn’t even bother her.  She was actually happy to have her gloves come off and to touch the snow with her bare hands.  She especially liked eating the snow!  2.18.2014(25)

2.18.2014(24)Julia did have her first snow-related injury Thursday morning: she was so excited to be playing in the snow that she ran a little too fast and slipped on the slippery sidewalk.  She face-planted right on our sidewalk.  She paused for a moment (which made me panic) but she quickly got up and started running around again!  Her nose was all scraped and bleeding though, so I put some snow on it and she was completely unfazed.  After we were done playing in the snow, we came back inside to take off our boots and have lunch!2.18.2014(22)  Julia was clearly worn out from so much fun (either that or eating lunch is very hard work) cause she fell asleep in her high chair!  2.18.2014(20)She started yawning and then just conked out right there in her high chair!  I was able to bring her upstairs to change her diaper and then I put her in her crib and she was out like a light. 2.18.2014(21)At home her naps have been horrible… ranging from about 45 minutes to an hour and a half at the most.  I keep hearing about these babies Julia’s age who take 2-3 hour naps every day and I wonder  how that happens.  But then I remind myself that Julia sleeps very well at night (usually) and I’d rather have a baby who sleeps at night and doesn’t take good naps than the other way around so I won’t complain (too much).

After her nap, we worked on some of our art projects!!  We did some finger painting: 2.18.2014(18)

and we also made Valentine’s Day cards for all our family!  In addition to arts and crafts supplies, I also got some letter and number magnets that we played with on a cookie sheet (thanks, Pinterest!) 2.18.2014(19)

and we played with shaving cream in the bath (thanks for the suggestion, Holly!) 2.18.2014(17)

Friday, Ken had to go back to work but daycare was still closed because of all the snow–the main roads were mostly plowed and clear for cars to drive but most of the side roads were still covered in snow.  We hung out at home for a bit in the morning: 2.18.2014(16)

but then we didn’t want to let the snow stop us, so we got ready (in Julia’s Valentine’s Day dress–a hand-me-down from Marlee) to head out for the day!  2.18.2014(15)

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We ran a few errands in the morning before going to get lunch with Miss Steffi.  Then we came home and took a nice nap in the afternoon.  2.18.2014(12)

I made this fun comparison photo showing Julia on Valentine’s Day last year (on the left) and this year (on the right).  2.18.2014(13)

It’s amazing what a difference a year can make!  She’s gone from a little baby to a toddler with a mind of her own in the past year.

Saturday and Sunday, Ken had mandatory study sessions he had to go to, so Julia and I were on our own to make mischief.  We got a lot done both days and of course we had a lot of fun while we were at it!  On Saturday morning, we took some silly selfie pictures (one of Julia’s favorite activities!)2.18.2014(10)

and then we got all bundled up in the Ergo to walk through the snow to the Hopkins bookstore.  Julia likes the Ergo because she can nurse while we’re walking.  It leaves my hands free to do what I need to do, which is nice, and she’ll (sometimes) even fall asleep while we’re walking around!  Here, you can’t even tell that she is nursing! 2.18.2014(8)At the bookstore on Saturday mornings, they have story time for kids.  Julia was the youngest kid there but it didn’t stop her from enjoying herself!  The theme this week was Maisy, from the Maisy book series.  They even had a life-size Maisy.  I wasn’t sure how Julia would react, given her reaction to the Oriole bird the other week… but she was actually much more comfortable with Maisy.  She waved and said hi, and even walked up to Maisy to tickle her feet!  2.18.2014(9)

Luckily the snow stopped falling right after story time was over so we headed home for lunch and a nap.  2.18.2014(6)

2.18.2014(7)Saturday night a babysitter from Julia’s classroom at daycare came over to babysit so that Ken and I could enjoy ourselves for a Valentine’s Day date night!  We went to dinner in Little Italy, got dessert at Vaccarro’s and then went out to see Dr. Corey’s band play a show in Dundalk. 2.18.2014(5)

By the end of the night we were exhausted and we knew that our human alarm clock would be waking us up around 6:30 the next morning so we went home and went to sleep but we did have a lovely night out!  (Our next date night will be next week for Ken’s 30th Birthday!)

Sunday morning I went to brunch with my Uncle Neil, Aunt Karen and cousins Rachel and David.  Neil & Karen decided at the last minute to make a quick visit to Baltimore.  (This is one thing I love about being on the East Coast… we are close enough to family that we can see them for a quick visit like that if we want to.  We’re close enough to Ken’s older brother and our niece and nephew that if we wanted to we could go visit them for a weekend by driving up Friday after work or Saturday morning and driving back Sunday night.)  We went to a great little bistro in Bolton Hill.  Neil & Karen are thinking of possibly moving to Baltimore which would be really nice cause it would mean seeing them more often.  It would be fun for Julia to grow up and really get to know them!2.18.2014(4)

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The only problem with going to brunch in the late morning (as opposed to an early morning breakfast) is that it wears Julia out so much that she often falls asleep in the car on our way home from brunch.  She then gets this idea in her mind that if she’s had 5 minutes of sleep in the car, that’s enough of a nap for her and she will NOT go back to sleep when we get home.  I tried… I tried nursing her back to sleep, I tried putting her down in the crib and rubbing her back, I tried lying down with her in my bed but she would NOT go back to sleep.  So instead, I gave up and we went to Corey & Steffi’s Engagement Party.  We did have a good time but Julia would have been in a much happier place if she had had a nap.  Oh well…

After the party we came home to play a bit, had dinner and then Julia went to sleep.

Yesterday was Presidents Day and since daycare was closed it was yet another Mommy & Julia day!  It was Day #5 of our 5-day snowy weekend!  In the morning we went to breakfast with a new mommy friend and her son and then we went to a local song/play group that happens in the neighborhood next to ours.  Julia had fun singing, dancing and playing with lots of different musical instruments.  We came home to let the house-cleaners in, and then got some errands done in the afternoon.2.18.2014(2)

2.18.2014Julia was in a horrendous mood yesterday evening during dinner (and this morning during breakfast, for that matter!)… she does have a little cold which could be affecting her mood and I think she may have a few more teeth on their way.  She did not want to eat anything… she was throwing food on the floor, putting food in her hair, dropping food on the seat of her high chair.  It was not a pretty sight.  I even tried spoon-feeding her a pouch but she batted my hand out of the way and wanted nothing to do with that.

Everyone has a different opinion about how to deal with toddlers and picky eating/annoying eating behaviors and I don’t know which strategy to use… I know she won’t starve but I don’t feel comfortable sending her to bed without dinner since I fear she will wake up a few hours later hungry, and 11 PM is not time to eat dinner.  (This did happen last night… she went to sleep at 7:30 but was then up at 10:30 wanting to nurse.)  I try to offer her food options I know she likes, but at the same time I don’t want to be a “short order cook” and make her a separate meal from what we’re eating as a family.  It’s one thing to tell an older child, “you don’t have to eat but you just have to sit with the family during dinner time” but you can’t exactly tell a toddler to be patient and sit with the family.  The food throwing is really annoying and we’re figuring out ways to get that to stop… sometimes it helps to give her just one piece of food at a time but sometimes even then she’ll just throw it as us.  I’ve tried giving her 3 warnings that I will take her food away but I need to start taking her out of her high chair and ending the meal time if that happens.  Toddlers are frustrating little creatures but then they give you a big hug or a cute little smile and it just about makes up for it.

This morning our conversation went like this: I put some pieces of clementine and some cheerios on Julia’s high chair tray and she started throwing them, so I took them away and put them on the table, out of her reach.  I then gave her a sippy cup of milk.  She drank some of that and then threw it at me, so I put it on the table.  She looked at me longingly and said, “more.”  I offered her one piece of orange and said, “do you want some orange?”  “NO!”  I offered her one cheerio and asked, “do you want some cheerios?”  “NO!”  I then went to the kitchen to get a pouch and a spoon.  I showed her the spoon and asked her, “do you want some bananas and pumpkin?”  “NO!” Then she said it again: “more!” (I should add that “more” and “milk” sound a lot alike).  So I offered her the sippy cup again and she pushed my hand out of the way, yelling “NO!”  At that point I gave up, put on her jacket and we went to daycare.  I know she won’t starve since they feed her snacks and lunch at daycare but this behavior makes me wonder how more toddlers don’t get thrown away with the trash.

Thank you, Mommy, for not throwing me away!

 

So what did I keep?

For those who are curious, I decided to keep the pants and the dress.  The sweater was a fun print but because of the length and the fact that it’s a bit more casual, I didn’t think I would get much use out of it.  It’s also more clearly a piece for fall/winter whereas the dress can be worn for work year-round and the pants can also be worn year round, depending on what I pair with them.  The shirt I also decided to send back because I figure that I can find a similar shirt from Old Navy or Loft for a much lower price and the necklace was a little too dainty and subtle for my taste.

And I love Stitch Fix so much that I already scheduled my next Fix, to come the first week of May.  Some people sign up to get fixes every month but the problem is that I don’t have $150 to spend on clothes every month.  I like doing it every 3 months or so to add a few pieces here and there but it would be too much to do it every month.

If you want your very own personal stylist, check out the link here: Stitch Fix

 

Stitch Fix Review #2

My second Stitch Fix box arrived yesterday!  But now I have ahead of me the difficult task of deciding what to keep and what to send back.  Unlike last time, when there were pieces that didn’t fit quite right or that I didn’t really like that much, this time everything fits perfectly.  Also, I put up photos of each of the items on Facebook and got very positive feedback about all of the items.  So I have some tough choices to make.  But first… the review:

After receiving my last Stitch Fix box, I tweaked my Style Profile a bit to make sure that I was accurately describing my body shape, and the style of clothing I was looking for.  I also sent very detailed feedback about the items that came in my last box to make sure that my Stylist knew exactly what I was and was not looking for.  When I requested my Fix this time, I asked for no cardigans since I have too many, and I asked for a pair of pants and a dress.  I also worked a bit on my Pinterest board over the past couple of months to make sure I was leaving more detailed information about what I like and don’t like, etc.

When I got home from work yesterday, my box was waiting for me! stitchfix(10)

After putting Julia to sleep, I opened it up to see what was inside:stitchfix(2)

Of course it was nicely packaged and I first took out the list showing me what was included, along with styling tips for each item and a note from my stylist.

stitchfix(3)First up was a necklace: the Aster Gold Tube Necklace, which goes for $44

stitchfix(5)I don’t wear a lot of jewelry… partially because Julia likes to pull on it but also because I’m lazy and forget to put it on.  When I do wear jewelry, I prefer bigger pieces that make more of a statement.  To me, this necklace is a little too subtle.  It’s very dainty and pretty but too subtle for me.  It’s also $44 which is a bit much for a necklace I don’t think I’ll wear often.  I probably won’t be keeping this necklace.

Next up was a lovely dress, the Carrie Polka Dot Fit & Flare Dress, which goes for $48stitchfix(6)

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stitchfix(9)I like this dress a lot… it’s very versatile as it can be worn for work or for going out.  It’s just long enough for work and since it’s fairly simple it can be dressed up or down.  The material is also very nice and subtle, I like the shape of the dress with the pleats, and it’s lined with a zipper down the back.  It does seem to be very well-made.  Also, the price is right at $48.  For a dress I can easily wear to work, $48 seems like a very reasonable price-point.  I will probably keep this dress.

Next there was a sweater, the Naima Tribal Print & Stripes Sweater, which goes for $48stitchfix(7)

At first I wasn’t so sure about this sweater… the pattern is not one I would ordinarily pick out and the shape is a little funny.  It’s sort of a cropped sweater so I thought it would be too short and boxy.  But the more I look at the picture of myself in the sweater, the more I like it.  I also have gotten a lot of positive feedback from people about the sweater from photos I shared online.  It’s a nice material and the price is right in line (maybe a little high) with what I would ordinarily spend on a sweater, especially one I thought I would get a lot of use out of.  I could see wearing this with dark jeans (like in the photo above) or with leggings and boots for a more casual look.  I’m still not sold on the sweater but it’s possible I’ll choose to keep it.

Next up was a pair of pants, the Kayla Skinny Jean, which go for $98 and a shirt, the Mission 3/4 Sleeve V-Neck Blouse, which goes for $48stitchfix(4)First up… the pants.  I LOVE THEM.  I love the color, they are super soft and comfortable, just stretchy enough, they fit perfectly.  It feels like wearing leggings but they’re jeans.  They’re amazing.  $98 is a lot to spend on a pair of pants but I do feel like I will get a lot of use out of them.  I liked the way they looked with flats or with boots, they can be dressed up or dressed down.  I can’t say enough good things about them.  I love them.

The shirt I’m not sold on… it’s okay.  It’s a nice material and shape, I do feel like I would wear it for work or for casual but it’s not perfect… the material is a little itchy, and it pulls a little around my chest.  It’s fairly basic and I do feel like I could probably find something similar from Old Navy or Loft for half the price.

Right now I’m leaning toward keeping the pants, the dress and the sweater and sending back the shirt and the necklace.

The Math: 

Because I had shared my referral link with so many people who signed up for their own Stitch Fix, I had $50 in credit going into this month’s box.  So I didn’t have to pay the $20 styling fee this time around.  Which means I still have $30 in credit to use.  So here’s how the math works:

Dress ($48) + Pants ($98) + Sweater ($48) = $194 – the $20 I already “paid” for the styling fee and the $30 I have in credit = $144 for 3 items that I feel I will get a lot of use out of.

I think I will sleep on it one more day and try everything on again tonight before making a final decision but for now I’m leaning toward keeping those three items.

Thoughts from my lovely blog readers?

 

 

 

 

Oh, what a wonderful weekend!

We just had the most wonderful weekend!  Friday night after work, we decided to go to One World for dinner as a family for a second week in a row.  We had a wonderful time because the restaurant is so accommodating and baby friendly.  Julia did amazingly well at dinner–she enjoyed a quesadilla with beans and cheese, had fun flirting with some friendly people at the table next to us, and was in a wonderful mood.  When we got home from dinner we put her to sleep and then we watched The Dictator… not quite as funny as Borat, but it still got quite a few chuckles (though I did fall asleep before we were done watching).

Saturday morning we went out for pancakes at our favorite pancake place down the street from our house, and then we got dressed in Orioles gear to head downtown for Orioles Fanfest.  This was our first time going to Fanfest and while it was fun, it was definitely a hard thing to do with a baby.  It was very crowded and there were not a lot of baby-friendly activities.  I imagine that it might be easier with an older child but with a baby Julia’s age, it was very hard to keep her happy.2.3.2014If/when we go next year, I think we should take two cars so that I can stay with Julia until she is ready to go home but Ken can stay to hear the players and coaches/managers talk about the season ahead of them and to get autographs.  We did get to hear a special forum for season ticket holders but I know that there were more Q&A sessions that would have been of interest to Ken.

There were a lot of lines for everything so it involved a lot of standing around and waiting–something babies are not very good at.  The two things we did get to do were go to the give-away area, where we got free Orioles glasses, and we went to take pictures with the Oriole bird.  Julia had met the Oriole bird once before, and had been somewhat indifferent toward him but this time Julia had a very strong and negative reaction to meeting the Bird.2.3.2014(8)  He was good with her though–pretended to hide because he was scared of her–and the crowd around us got a kick out of Julia’s reaction.  As we were leaving, she was willing to give him a high five, despite sobbing the whole time!   2.3.2014(9)

By the time we got our picture with the Bird, Julia was getting hungry for lunch and tired and ready for a nap so we went home to do both of those things.  When she got up from her nap, it was time for her and I to get ready for Miss Steffi’s Surprise Engagement Tea Party!  2.3.2014(10)

We got all fancy since this was Julia’s first time going to tea… she wore a very cute little smocked dress with matching pants (that my mom and I had picked out at a children’s clothing store in New Orleans) and I wore a black dress with my striped blazer from my first Stitch Fix box!  The tea party was at this very elegant tea room in Ellicott City.  It was NOT a good place to take a baby since they didn’t have high chairs or a bathroom big enough to change a diaper, but it would have been a lovely place to go without Julia!  The food was delicious, they had a wide variety of tea flavors to choose from and the service and atmosphere were lovely and relaxed.  It was exhausting for me to keep Julia occupied the whole time without having a place to have her sit safely and comfortably but we managed and had a good time anyway!  It was also nice to meet Miss Steffi’s mom and some of her best friends who I had not met before.  It was a lovely group of ladies! 2.3.2014(2)

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2.3.2014(7)After tea it was time to head home for dinner and bedtime.  Ken & I ordered some Thai food to be delivered!  Yum yum!

Sunday morning we woke up and had some much-needed family cuddle time!2.3.2014(5)

After cuddle time, we got ready to go to brunch at the home of some new friends we met through the Facebook group, Mobtown Mommies!  (Sadly I don’t have any photographic evidence of our wonderful morning with them–must be because we were having too much fun chatting and playing to take pictures!)  Kim and I connected through Facebook after realizing that we had a lot in common and we chatted a bit through Facebook before deciding to plan a family get-together.  Ken & I got along very well with Kim and her husband, Zev, and they have an adorable 18-month old daughter, Amelia, with whom Julia had fun playing.  (To read more about Kim and her little family, check out her blog, Amelia Bubblepop.  Caution: It is very funny!  You may just start laughing  uncontrollably!)

One funny story to share (and you’ll have to imagine the photo that would go along with this story): when we were planning this playdate, Kim and I had joked that picking the girls’ outfits mattered more than picking our own outfits and that we felt like we were getting ready for a blind date.  The funny part is that Kim and I chose almost identical outfits for Julia and Amelia.  Julia was wearing long pant overalls over a pink onesie, and Amelia had on an overall skirt with a pink shirt.  It was too funny that we chose almost the same exact thing for them to wear!  We had a wonderful time getting to know their family and we definitely look forward to future play dates with them!

After brunch, we came home for Julia’s nap and for some downtime at home.  Julia had great fun playing with her tunnel from Uncle Adam, and Ken got several solid hours of studying in.2.3.2014(12)

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Yesterday was also Superbowl Sunday, so after burning lots of energy at home we headed over to the home of some other new friends of ours who we also met through Mobtown Mommies.  I had met Lara and her daughter Jane before for several playdates but this was my first time meeting Lara’s husband, Jason.  He is a surgery resident so Lara and I had talked a lot about wanting to get our husbands together.  We’re glad we finally did since they got along really well!  I predict future family get-togethers for our two families, as well!  Here were Ken, Jason and Pete watching the Football game.2.3.2014(6)

Personally, I was not too interested in the game but I had a lot of fun chatting with Lara and Sarah, and then once Julia went to sleep I enjoyed a relaxing evening with our new friends.

Today is going by very very very very slowly but I am so excited to head home at the end of the day since my Stitch Fix box should be waiting for me when I get home!  I can’t wait to see what I got this month!  I am also looking forward to Friday this week since I will be taking a much-needed personal day.  I have already scheduled myself appointments to get my haircut and my eyebrows waxed.  I might throw in a mid-day nap in there as well.  I can’t wait!

Julia’s 15-month Checkup

Yesterday we had Julia’s 15-month checkup with her pediatrician.  First, I just have to say that I love her pediatrician.  She really makes you feel like she’s giving you her full and undivided attention.  She answers all of your questions and she literally spent about 45 minutes with us yesterday.  At no point did I feel like she was rushing me or she was in a hurry to get out of the room.  She always is respectful, even when I ask seemingly silly questions.  It’s so refreshing to have a doctor who you trust so fully with your or your child’s care.  I can’t speak highly enough of her.

So let’s start, from head to toe:

First, her statistics: her head is 47 centimeters (75th percentile), she weighs 25 lbs. 3 oz. and is 32 inches tall.  Her height is in the 90th percentile for girls her age and her weight is in the 80th percentile.  The doctor said she was growing nicely and did not seem at all concerned.  It’s a nice change from those first few doctor’s appointments we had when we were struggling with breastfeeding and were happy if she gained even a few ounces from one visit to the next!

Teeth: The doctor saw that Julia has 5 teeth that have broken the surface and one more that is about to break through.  I asked her when we need to start brushing her teeth and when we need to think about taking her for a visit to the dentist.  She said that provided she’s not eating junk food (which she’s not), we can wait until she’s 3 years old for a visit to the dentist.  Before then she won’t have the patience or even the ability to sit still in a dentist’s chair long enough to have her teeth cleaned or examined.  We do, however, need to start brushing her teeth.  The doctor said at this age we should do whatever she’ll tolerate–if she’ll tolerate the toothbrush with toothpaste we can do that and try to get in there and brush or we can just let her chew on the toothbrush and use a washcloth with our finger to scrub them a little when she’s taking a bath.

This morning, after we had breakfast I decided to give her the toothbrush and see how she would do.  She LOVED brushing her teeth!  I sat down on the floor next to her and showed her how to do it and she just had a grand old time!  She even cried when I took the toothbrush away from her since it was time to go to daycare! Here we were, having our toothbrush party this morning: 1.10.2014(3)

1.10.2014(4)(Side note: those overalls are really cute, aren’t they?!  But they were obviously designed by someone who does NOT have children since they are totally impractical.  They don’t have buttons or snaps at the crotch to allow for easy diaper changing.  You literally have to take the overalls all the way off in order to change the baby’s diaper.  And they’re made for size 18 months.  I’ve never even heard of a baby who’s potty-trained by 18 months.)

Language Development: Ken & I were both getting a little concerned about the fact that Julia still doesn’t call us Mama & Dada.  She frequently says “dadada” and “mamama” but she never directs those specific words at us.  So I asked the doctor about where she should be with language development at this age.  She said by this age she should have 2-3 words that we know she is saying.  (She definitely does–she says “nice,” “cat,” “ball,” “nose,” and a few others here and there.)  And she said that more important than having actual words, is that she babbles with “communicative intent” and changing her intonation.  She DEFINITELY does that.  A lot.  So I’m not worried!

Nutrition: The doctor said that as far as toddler nutrition is concerned, you have to look at their intake of food over the course of a week and make sure they are getting in enough protein, fruits and vegetables, Vitamin D, iron, etc. but that in one day if she eats nothing but yogurt that’s okay as long as she’s making up for it on the other days of the week by eating more fruits and vegetables and less dairy.  She should be drinking 16-24 oz. of milk a day and we can also start giving her water more regularly to help with her occasional constipation.  Generally these days, on daycare days she gets 3 sippy cups (so about 15 oz.) of whole milk, and she nurses 3 times in addition to that, and on non daycare days she generally nurses 5 times and gets 2 (so 10 oz. total) cups of milk.

Motor Skills: The doctor saw that Julia was walking, trying to climb up onto chairs, could use two fingers to pick up small objects on the floor, helps with getting herself dressed by extending her arm when you hold her sleeve for her, etc. and she said that over the next 3 months we should start to see more and more independence.  We’ll start to see her successfully climbing up onto the couch and chairs, we’ll start to see her learn to rotate her wrist in such a way that she’ll be able to start using a fork and knife to feed herself, etc. The longer she walks and discovers how her body moves, the more graceful her movements will become, basically.

Sleep: At this age and especially with all the teething going on, it’s normal for her to be woken up in the middle of the night or even to wake up at horrible times (like 5:30 this morning) because her teeth are probably quite painful.  But the doctor was pleased to hear that the average night of sleep for Julia involves her sleeping through the night from about 7:30-6 and that she normally gets a 1-2 hour nap at home or at daycare.   1.10.2014

Overall the doctor was very pleased with how Julia is doing!  She also got 3 shots yesterday: the second part of her flu shot (for babies they divide it into two parts), PCV (pneumococcal), and her first MMR shot.  She screamed for about a minute after the shots but then she quickly calmed down and was back to normal by the time we left the doctor’s office!

It’s hard to believe that the next time we take her to the doctor for a well-visit, it will be for her 18-month checkup!  Where did my baby go?  1.10.2014(2)

 

Rough Day

Yesterday was a rough day for Mama.  It started out with Julia sleeping in until 6:45.  While the extra sleep in the morning was lovely, I can always tell something’s not quite right when she sleeps in that late.  She was in a very good mood while nursing and immediately afterward.  Then, I put her in her highchair for breakfast.  She was fine until I had to run upstairs for 1 minute.  While I was gone, she started crying.  Normally if she cries when I leave the room, she’ll calm down once she sees me again, but this time she didn’t.  She kept crying.

I took these photos for “Why my child is crying” posts on our Pumpkin Patch group and then I took her out of her highchair to calm her down with some nursing:11.20.2013(2)

11.20.2013She calmed down a little bit but once we went outside and I strapped her into her carseat, the crying started again: 11.20.2013(3)

We drove about five minutes from our house and at that point, the screaming was so intense that I pulled over and took Julia out of the car to try and see what was wrong.  I smelled her tush to see if she had a dirty diaper (nope).  I checked her forehead to see if she felt feverish (nope).  Given where we were, I couldn’t just nurse her right there… and it didn’t seem like that would help (since she had already nursed and eaten breakfast).  So I just held her for a few minutes and we walked around the car a few times, then I put her back in the car.  She then proceeded to cry the whole way to daycare.  I tried singing.  I tried talking to her.  I turned the radio on.  I turned the radio off.  I tried jazz music.  I tried classical.  I tried rock.  I tried children’s music.  Nothing worked.  By the time we got to daycare, even I was in tears!

When we got into her classroom, Julia struggled to wriggle out of my arms and went over to sit in the lap of her daycare teacher.  But the crying continued for about 10-15 minutes while I sat there and watched her, tried to engage her in activities, and was just generally concerned about what was bothering her.  She finally seemed to settle down enough that I felt comfortable leaving, so I left to go to work.

An hour after I got to work, Julia’s daycare teacher called to say she had been crying on and off since  I had left.  She also mentioned that they used a thermometer that checks the temperature behind the ears and that one ear was hotter than the other.  So I called Julia’s pediatrician and made an appointment for 2 PM.  I picked Julia up around 1 and took her straight to the doctor.  Sure enough, she has an ear infection in one ear.  Poor thing!  At least we know why she was so fussy yesterday morning though… even with that knowledge, yesterday was an emotionally exhausting morning.  The hardest part was when Julia crawled over to her daycare teacher and didn’t seem comforted by me at all.  Guilty mom thoughts started swimming around in my head: am I working too much?  Does Julia spend too much time at daycare?  Should I be a stay at home mom?  Does she not love me as much as she loves her daycare teachers?  Does she like it better at daycare than she does at home?  I mentioned these concerns to one of the ladies at work and her reply was, “she’s just getting you ready for her becoming a teenager when she’ll start to tell you that she hates you and you’re the worst mother in the world.”  Good points… but it was still hard to swallow.  I’m looking forward to the next few weeks when we’ll be spending a bit more time together as Mommy & Baby (since daycare closes for a few days over Thanksgiving and a few days over Christmas).  I think we need some more  time together just the two of us when we’re both awake and happily playful.

 

My First Stitch Fix: A Review

I first heard about Stitch Fix about a year ago when my friend Courtney, who is also the La Leche League leader in New Orleans, posted a review of her experience with Stitch Fix on her own blog, here.  You can also read more about the whole concept at their website, using my referral link: Stitch Fix

Basically, the way it works is like this:

First, you fill out a survey about your personal style and body type: what size you wear, are your arms short, average or long?  Do you like preppy clothes, the Bohemian style, or edgy? And you fill out information about how much money you are generally willing to spend on various items of clothing: do you want “the cheaper the better” or are you willing to spend between $100 and $150 on a jacket?  You can also include links to your Pinterest boards so that they can get a sense of your style outside of just their little survey, and you tell them what you’re looking for: mostly casual?  Mostly work clothes?  Date night items or fancy formal affairs?

Then, you schedule your “fix.”  You pay $20 and a stylist will pick out 5 items to send you.  You can choose to have just clothing or you can get 4 items of clothing and one piece of jewelry.  If you decide to keep anything, the $20 goes toward the cost of that item.  Anything you don’t choose to keep, you can send back with free shipping.  You have 3 days to try everything on.  If you happen to love everything in the box, you get a 25% discount for keeping the whole box.    When you schedule your fix, there is also a place to add comments, so for example if you really want a dress you can ask for a dress, or if you really don’t like horizontal stripes, you can include that in the comments.  Additionally, if there’s an event you have coming up like a wedding or a job interview, you can mention that and they can try to pick out items that might work well for that event.

So I mentioned in my comments that I am a mother to a 1-year old, which means I need clothing that is baby-friendly in terms of being easy to wash (I didn’t really want a bunch of items I would have to dryclean) and I also mentioned that since I’m still breastfeeding, I needed breastfeeding-friendly clothing.

My Stitch Fix box arrived yesterday!StitchFixI knew it was scheduled to arrive yesterday and I had already mentioned to some friends that I was irrationally excited about it getting here.  Upon opening the box, I was pleased to see how nicely packaged the clothes were.  There was a little envelope on top with some important information:StitchFix2They include a list of all the items they’ve chosen for you, and they also include styling cards that provide suggestions about how to wear each item they’ve sent: StitchFix7They recommend that you try everything on with other items in your closet that you already own.  On their website they do stress that they’re not trying to send you complete outfits but rather, individual items that you can mix in with your already-existing wardrobe to spice things up a little bit.

So that’s what I did… I wanted to see how each item would work with things I already own.  Luckily, everything fit, which tells me that I correctly filled out their style/size profile.  And here’s what I got (I apologize that the colors/lighting in the photos is not great… Ken took these photos on my phone at night in our bedroom (with a green wall behind me).  Next time I’ll try to get some better photos:

Tua Rowson Shoulder Button Striped Shirt, $38StitchFix5

I liked the colors and the overall style of this shirt, and I liked the button detail on the shoulder.  I liked that the shirt was a little longer than some others I own.  I did not like the horizontal stripes (across my post-baby belly, they do not flatter me at all) and I also did not like that the material was rather thin and clingy.  I ended up sending this shirt back.

Black Swan Olive Fit & Flare Ponte Dress, $78StitchFix4I loved the color of this dress (kind of a burgundy/maroon color) and I really liked the material.  It was a thicker heavier fabric and it had nice detailing and stitching to keep the shape very flattering.  When I twirled around in circles, the skirt twirled beautifully so it would have been great for dancing!  I did not like that the waist came up so high on my body and I also did not like that the dress was a little shorter than would be appropriate to wear to work.  I generally try to get items of clothing that I can wear both to work and for every day wear (with a few exceptions of course), and this dress did not fit that criteria.  I ended up sending this back.

Next was a cardigan: Mak Jaclynn 3/4 Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan, $38

StitchFix6This is not the greatest photo… I liked this cardigan just fine.  The color was kind of a mustard color.  The cardigan fit just fine, though the buttons did pull a little bit when it was buttoned shut.  The material was nice and soft and it seemed to be well made.  The problem with this item was 2-fold: first, cardigans have always been my “security blanket” item of clothing.  I have way too many of them already and I really don’t need any more.  Second, I already have a cardigan that is very similar in color, shape and material.  There was nothing really special about this cardigan and I felt that I could easily have gotten one very similar from a store like Old Navy for half the price.  If there had been something special (beading, stitching, lace or some other detail) I would have considered it but it was really just a plain cardigan.  I sent this one back.

Finally, my two favorite items, both of which I ended up keeping:

Mystree Beatty Striped Ruffle Detail Blazer, $48StitchFix3and the Bay To Baubles Faceted Bubble Necklace, $32StitchFix8

I had apparently pinned this necklace to one of my boards three different times so the stylist made sure I got it! 🙂

The way the math worked out is like this: I had already paid the $20 styling fee.  The two items came out to $80 but if you subtract the $20 I already paid, they ended up costing $60.  If you ask me, $60 is not a bad price to pay for a jacket and a necklace.  I feel that I will get a lot of use out of both items.  And think of it this way: if I had gone shopping to try on five items, I probably would have spent $20 on gas, mileage, lunch or a snack at the mall, etc. and going to the mall with a baby in tow is a close-to-impossible challenge.  She does not like to sit still while I try on clothing, find the right size, decide what to get and pay.

Overall I was very satisfied with my experience even though I only ended up keeping 2 of the 5 items in my box.  I did like the other items just fine, they just weren’t quite what I was looking for.  They recommend on their website that you give very detailed feedback on each item so that they can do an even better job picking out the items for your next fix.  I’m very happy to have found this service and will definitely be using it again in the future!  Especially for mothers, it’s a very convenient way to shop!

Short & Sweet

Last night we got back from a short but very sweet trip up to Connecticut (sadly I didn’t take a lot of photos myself so most of the pictures in this post come from other people)!  After work on Friday, we finished our packing and we drove to the airport for our 8:45 PM flight to Providence, RI.  Julia fell asleep about 2 minutes after take-off and slept until about 2 minutes before landing.

Here she was sleeping in my arms on the plane: 11.18.2013(14)

She then fell asleep in the car on our way back to Ken’s parents’ house from the airport and when we got home I was able to put her directly into the crib, where she slept until 6 AM the following morning!  We stayed up chatting and catching up with Ken’s parents until almost midnight!

Saturday morning we were up bright and early.  After having bagels with lox and cream cheese for breakfast, we drove an hour to Ken’s (and Adam’s) old high school, where we met up with Adam & his girlfriend, Jen.  Ken talks very fondly about his days at Boarding School, and there were so many teachers who were very influential for him, so it was exciting for me to meet some of them and see the place that had so much to do with his deciding how to spend the rest of his life.  We spent a good deal of time talking to the Nurse in the Health Center who quietly told me that Ken has always been one of her favorite students.  She told us that we have a beautiful family and that she’s so proud to see how successful and happy Ken has become.  It was very special to hear that!

Here are a few photos from our morning at Loomis:11.18.2013

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I had to leave Loomis around 12 so that I could drive down to Yale to give a presentation at their chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.  I had a wonderful time meeting the lovely women of Kappa at Yale and talking to them about Chapter Image & Membership Growth.  While I did that, Ken and Julia had lunch at Loomis with Adam and Jen and then they went their separate ways.  Adam & Jen were planning on attending a jazz concert in New York City that evening and Ken drove back to his parents’ house with Julia.

I got back to Waterford just in time for dinner (and for Julia to ride around on her Zaydie’s shoulders)!  11.18.2013(13)

Ken’s mom made a delicious dinner of Stuffed Shells, Broccoli & Garlic Bread.  After dinner, some family friends came over for dessert and to meet Julia.  One of the friends who came over is a friend of my mother-in-law’s (who just so happens to read my blog!) and she came over with her daughter, Charlotte, who is 8 and-a-half months old.  She was so adorable!  Julia was kind of being a bully to her while she was playing with blocks, but it was still very cute to see the way that the two little girls interacted.  Charlotte would cry and Julia got a concerned look on her face, and would get down right into Charlotte’s face to see what was wrong.  This, in turn, made Charlotte more upset.  It was interesting to watch, at the very least!  Unfortunately, I had to put Julia to sleep part of the way through dessert, but she ended up sleeping until 6:45 AM the following morning!

Sunday morning we all got ready to go and then we drove back to Providence.  We got together with a big group of family & friends at Ken’s grandmother’s house.  Julia got to meet some cousins and an Uncle she had never met before, and she also got to meet some of Nana’s girlfriends.  Julia always has great fun playing with her Cousin Paige:11.18.2013(10)

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Around 12:30, Julia even took a nap (we had to improvise a little since we didn’t have a pack n’ play or crib in which to put her down, but I nursed her to sleep and was able to put her down in her carseat with a blanket):11.18.2013(12)

As much as we miss New Orleans, it’s so special that we are close enough to our extended families that we are able to make short weekend trips like this happen.  Here’s a 4-generation photo we took of Julia with Ken, her Zaydie and her Nana:11.18.2013(15)

From New Orleans, we would not have been able to make such a quick trip but now that we’re in Baltimore, it’s much more easy to hop on a plane Friday after work and be up in Connecticut for the weekend.  We were then back at work this morning without too much trouble.  And if it had been a holiday weekend, it would have been even better!

Part of the way through our afternoon at Nana’s, Ken & I both got a text message from Southwest Airlines telling us that our flight was going to be delayed by nearly 3 hours so we quickly called the airline and got rescheduled onto an earlier flight.  Sadly, this cut our visit a little short but we made it to the airport with time to spare and we flew back to Baltimore a little earlier than planned.  Here we were waiting for our luggage at the Baltimore airport:11.18.2013(11)

When we got home we gave Julia dinner and a bath and then put her to sleep!  After she went to sleep, I went grocery shopping All. By. Myself.  This was definitely one of those “you know you’re a mother when…” situations.  Going to the grocery store without a baby in tow feels like a vacation.  I even got a cart without a baby seat just to make my time alone feel extra special!

And now it’s back to the daily grind for a few days… I do have Thursday off this week since daycare is closed, and next week is Thanksgiving.  This Thursday, I’ll be spending the day with my dear friend Sabrina & her son, Koren!

More on that later in the week 🙂

Happy Monday to all!

Old Wisdom

Sometimes old people have the best wisdom, even if they do seem crazy at times.  My mom’s told me that my Grandma used to say, “One good sleep brings on another” and I’ve heard several people say, “Early to Bed and Late to Rise.”  The idea behind this is that the more tired you are, the harder it is to sleep and the earlier you will wake up.  Well last night, we inadvertently tested this theory and found it to be true.

After work yesterday, I picked up Julia and then we had a few errands to run.  We didn’t get home until about 6 PM.  I nursed her and she fell asleep by 6:30.  11.6.2013

I figured she would sleep in my arms for 15-20 minutes and would then wake up for dinner and her bath and then I’d put her down at her usual time of 7:30 PM.  So after 20 minutes, she was still sleeping.  I did the little test to see if she was sound asleep (picking up her arm and letting it drop)–her arm dropped like that of a rag doll.  So, I repositioned her since my arm was falling asleep.  She stayed asleep: 11.6.2013(2)

And 15 minutes later, she was still asleep: 11.6.2013(3)

So I said to myself… “Okay, I’ll take her upstairs and put her in her crib.  If she stays asleep, great.  If she wakes up, I’ll bring her back downstairs for dinner and then she’ll go to sleep at 7:30.”  Well, I brought her upstairs and put her down in her crib and she stayed asleep.

And then…

she slept until 6:30 this morning!!!!!  She woke up briefly at 5:30 but we watched her playing with her hands on the monitor and then she went back to sleep.

So maybe all those old people really are wise and I should start listening to them!

We’ll try this new 6:30 bedtime for a few nights but to be completely honest, it will be very hard to maintain.  Ken often doesn’t get out of work until 6:00, and with traffic he sometimes isn’t home until 6:30.  It will be very sad for Ken to not get to see Julia before she goes to sleep at night.  Also, I sometimes don’t even get home from work until about 6 PM, which would mean having to immediately give Julia dinner and a bath and then put her to bed.  But… if it means that she’ll get 12 solid hours of sleep and will sleep in until 6:30 and be in a better mood in the morning, it may be worth it.  I’ll keep you posted to let you know if this works!

And on a completely separate note, I saw this car this morning on my way to work and had to take a photo of its license plate.  Apparently the driver (who I sneaked a peek at, and was not particularly attractive) is too sexy even for spellcheck!11.6.2013(4)

Fully Transitioned

This week will be my last week pumping breast milk for Julia.  For the past few weeks she has been getting a combination of breast milk and whole milk in sippy cups but I have seen that she will take whole milk by itself without a problem.  I’m feeling somewhat bittersweet about completing this transition.  I’m sad that this stage of our breastfeeding relationship is over, but I also am feeling very liberated from the breast pump.  I am feeling relieved that I will no longer have the pressure on me to provide a certain number of ounces of milk each day.  After this week I am going to slowly use up the frozen breast milk that we have saved in the freezer and then Julia will drink only whole milk when she’s at daycare while I will continue to breastfeed her when we are together.  The plan is to continue breastfeeding when we are together either until she self-weans or until I decide that I have had enough.  Another reason this is bittersweet is that it means I may (in fact probably will) get my period back in the somewhat near future.  As it is, I have not had a period since January of 2012–it’s been almost 2 years since I have had  a period!

I have known for months now that I needed Julia to be fully transitioned by this past weekend, or if not fully transitioned, at least willing to drink whole milk by itself.  The reason this past weekend was a cutoff for me was because Saturday I spent the whole day in DC for the Mandatory Course on Professionalism required by the DC Bar.  11.4.2013While I was in DC, Ken stayed home with Julia for the whole day.  This was his first time spending a whole day by himself with Julia and, from what he said, it went very well!  They played at home all morning, which wore Julia out since she started falling asleep eating her snack in her high chair.  Ken then put her in her crib and she took a nap for 2 and-a-half hours!  In the afternoon, he gave her lunch and then they walked over to the Hopkins campus and watched the end of the Hopkins football game.  When I got home, she was in a very happy mood!  I’m just glad that the day went so well since it means that now I’ll be able to leave Julia with Ken much more easily.  Next step: Ken putting her to sleep at bedtime so I can go out before 7 PM!

Saturday night, once I put Julia to sleep, our friends Praem & Shannon came over to hang out for a bit.  While they were over, I baked 3.5 dozen pumpkin muffins for a party we were invited to on Sunday.  The pumpkin muffin recipe came from my friend, Kathleen!  They are delicious and are very similar in taste and texture to the pumpkin muffins from Panera.  Thanks, Kathleen!  11.4.2013(2)

Sunday morning, I took Julia out to go grocery shopping so that Ken could get some work done.  When we got home from the grocery store, Julia ate lunch (in her adorable new bumble bee hat!) and then we got ready to go!11.4.2013(3)

Like I mentioned, we were invited to a party on Sunday–it was a “Holiday Cookie Exchange” party hosted by our new friends Sam & Mark, who have a little boy, Lincoln.  The idea was that everyone brought 2-3 dozen of their favorite holiday treat and then everyone got a little plastic baggie to fill up with treats.  People also had printed out the recipe of their treat so that you could ultimately go home and recreate the delicious holiday treats!

They also invited people to stick around after the party to watch the Ravens game.  So of course we were wearing our Sunday best (i.e. football jerseys!)  Here’s Julia & Daddy in their Patriots football jerseys:11.4.2013(4)

And I snapped this (rather adorable) photo of Julia playing with a football at Sam & Mark’s house.  When we first got there, their son was napping so Julia had the living room full of toys all to herself for a while.  She loved this football, in particular!  11.4.2013(5)

Sadly, my New Orleans saints lost their game (as did the Ravens) but the Patriots won by a landslide so Ken was a happy boy at the end of the day!

By the time we got home, we were exhausted–Julia had some turkey and broccoli for dinner and then Ken & I watched “A Mighty Wind” before going to bed.  I was probably asleep by 9:30 last night, but then our happy little alarm clock woke us up at 5:22 this morning!