warning: boob talk ahead

I decided to pick up this manual pump.

I have a Medela already, an electric, and like it... but I'll be keeping it at work when I go back. This one I can keep at home for a morning pump if I need one once Trav leaves with Gwen, or any other time I need some emergency relief. The pumping and getting enough for Gwen at daycare is one of my biggest going back to work worries... so I'll feel better having this and knowing I'm not going to miss a pumping opportunity because my electric is at work.
I would love any advice from those with success going back to work and still doing exclusively breast milk.

::end boob talk::

On a random... happy 5 years to Trav and I.
5 years of owning our house, that is!  ;-)  I can't believe we've been here so long already. Time sure does fly.


Picture catch up... Trav's amazing job on the front flower bed:

The random tulip a squirrel transplanted from our neighbors flowerbed into mine last year... I kid you not.

My pretty azalea.

A not great picture of my hair... the highlights are a light red. They are very subtle, but lighten up my whole color, and I love them.

Had to take a picture of the following two outfits (yesterday and today)... just too cute. I love the hooded top and striped shirt.

If you can't tell from her clothes, its been chilly lately... 60s and windy/overcast. But we braved it both Tuesday and today, because we just need to get out. Monday was pouring, so we hid inside... but yesterday we walked (well, I walked, she strollered) to the grocery store about a half mile away to grab milk, and today we hit up the babies'r'us. We picked up (among other things, including a huge box of diapers and wipes for daycare) another new bottle, with a smaller nipple to see if she takes that one better... we'll see. She's getting better, but still isn't great with the bottle. We'll keep practicing, once a day until we start daycare. Less then two weeks to go... I can't believe it.

We've also been reading a lot together... I'm reading her the Harry Potter books and we are almost done with the first one. I love these books anyway, but its even better sharing them with her. :-)

Well, I'm going to run since Trav will be home soon... ta-ta!


pictures, questions and suggestions

From Gwen and my walk on Earth Day... swinging makes us sleepy!

On an Earth Day related topic... Trav and I started composting.  :-)  I'm very excited, we've been meaning to for a while, and we finally found a place to do it. So we started off with some yard scraps from when Trav weeded out the front flower bed (it looks amazing, I'll take pictures when it stops raining), some flowers we had inside that were wilted, and some food scraps. Can't wait to see how it goes.

And one last picture that Trav snapped this morning of us sleeping. She's been waking to eat around 6am, then I sleep with her like this for the last hour or so.

(Don't worry, though the angle is weird, the blanket is well away from her face.) Otherwise she's in her crib or snuggle nest. She's actually been doing great with the crib. She goes down in there first, then I bring her to bed with us after her first wake (which has been around 2-3am lately).
I am going to miss this snuggle time in the morning when I go back to work.  :-(

Anyway, I have to get going... but I wanted to put it out there that I am looking for suggestions for my blog layout. I've been playing around with it lately, you've probably seen the new tabs up top. I'm trying to make it look cleaner and neater... but would love to hear your opinions/ideas.

And on that note, I'd also like to open things up to any questions that anyone has for me. I already got one questions I'll answer (what does breastfeeding feel like?), but thought I'd see if anyone had any questions for/about me, my fam, things I'm doing. Feel free to leave them anonymously if you want.


contest winner announced!

The lucky winner of the Life DVD is:
And that would be:
Stephanie Manner Wagner said...

Thanks for popping by again today and mention this great giveaway! Looks like a wonderful program.

I've spent my Earth Day outside as much as possible. Walked the kids home from school, grilling dinner tonight, and enjoying some beautiful green roses that arrived for an upcoming review.

Happy Earth Day to you too!

Congratulations! Can't wait to hear about how you enjoy your DVD.  :-)  And a huge thanks to all who entered.

 I don't have pictures to share with you yet... I'm behind on downloading them, and on taking them. It was a great weekend though, my hair appt trip was a success in all regards. She was a sweet baby for me, slept the whole way up and most of the way back, and I like how my hair turned out. I took my mom out shopping too... since I won't be up there for mother's day... to get her some flowers for her garden. Today was lazy, lazy, lazy. And now I get to go fall asleep to rumbles of thunder, which I love. Pictures to come one of these days. Good night!


Last day for entering my fun Earth Day giveaway! Don't miss your chance!

Just a quicky, since Trav will be home any minute now... and we're going to grill up some burgers and dogs, and eat outside. We didn't get to do that last night, because it ended up raining, but the rest of yesterday was beautiful. Gwen and I took advantage and went to the local park so she could swing on her mama's lap for the first time. She loved it.

Today we had a doc appointment, and my poor girl had to get two injection vaccines, plus an oral vaccine. I felt so bad for her. (And we're doing delayed vaccinating... I can't imagine how she would feel if she had to get double the shots!) She's definitely cranky now, but she is allowed to have some baby ty.lenol, so hopefully that will help. She is also now 10 lbs!! I can't can't believe she's already gained 3 lbs! And she is 22.5".

The doc says she looks great. That's what I like to hear.

Tomorrow Gwen and I are heading up towards my parents for my first haircut in over 3 months... and some summery highlights! Can't wait!

Anyway, I have to run... but stay tuned for contest winners and pictures of my new hair, come Monday.


Happy Earth Day!

First, if you haven't already, see yesterday's post for my first contest ever... with a pretty cool prize (I think).

Secondly, if you are on facebook... friend Dell!
I planted one in honor of my little brother.

Now with that out of the way, Happy Earth Day, y'all!!

As you've probably noticed, I'm a huge fan of Earth Day. This is a special one... seeing as its the 40th anniversary, and its Gwen's first. ;-) We're not doing anything HUGE, but Gwen is honoring the occasion by wearing her pretty green onesie, I'm wearing my pretty green scarf, and we are going to go for a nice walk in a bit (once Miss Gwen wakes from her nap). We're going to head to the little playground nearby and check out the swings. This weekend I'm going to buy a small plant (tree, bush, flowers... we'll have to see what looks nice!) to put in our yard for Gwen. Tonight we'll probably eat dinner outside on our new outdoor patio set. Our other stuff was falling apart, and this stuff is really nice and will definitely encourage us to spend more time outdoors.

Here are some quickie pics I snapped this morning:
Four regular chairs, and two swivel chairs.
(Ignore the bag of sand! That was from another yard project Trav was working on.)

Its currently sitting by the house, but our fire pit will probably go in the empty space in the near corner. 

Here's a closer look at the chairs: 
They have nice, thick cushions too... but it rained last night, so they are inside.

Also inside, the huge umbrella that goes with!
Perfect for those hot summer day that are fast approaching.

While I was out there I grabbed a few more shots of the beautiful morning:
So pretty...
Daisy was loving it:

On a non-Earth Day related note... I got the Gwen bracelet my very talented friend made for me. It's awesome! I can't wait to wear it to work.

The bead is amethyst colored, since that is the February birth stone. 

The back says, "Gwenivere Mae  02.16.2010"
Love it!

Well, on that note, I'm going to go get my Earth Day started!

Have a great day!!


LIFE - my first contest!

Tomorrow is Earth Day! I'm very exciting and look forward to doing something special with Gwen... maybe a trip to the nearby state park for a picnic and some fresh air. I think I'm also going to plant something in her honor.

So, to celebrate Gwen's first Earth Day, and reward you all for sticking around through my Earth Day extravaganza this week... I'm hosting my first contest ever!
I'm really excited for this contest, and for this great prize. I almost want to keep it for myself!   ;-)   One lucky winner will receive*:

Life, Disc 1

The earth is home to more than 30 million different animals and plants – every single one in its own fight for survival. From the makers of PLANET EARTH and narrated by global media leader and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, the epic television series LIFE is the definitive exploration of our planet’s living things and their spectacular, bizarre and fascinating behaviors.

More than four years in the making, with over 3,000 days of filming in the field by 70 camerapersons, LIFE spans every continent and every habitat. This episode will showcase the exhaustive and remarkable efforts by the LIFE filmmaking team to bring the breathtaking images of intimate animal and plant behavior to the screen. The latest in HD filmmaking techniques capture never-before-seen images while ensuring that natural behavior was not disturbed. Ingenious new cameras and filming platforms were invented for the series, including a “yogi cam,” which allowed a camera to track smoothly alongside migrating reindeer and elephants, and a “flying” camera that used intricate cable rigging to provide a “butterfly-eye” perspective of hundreds of thousands of Monarch butterflies in Mexico.

Click HERE for a complete description.

Enter to Win: Win this DVD by leaving a comment on this post telling me how you are celebrating Earth Day!

Optional Additional Entries for:
1 extra entry if you follow this blog or subscribe to this blog's feed.
1 extra entry if you blog about this contest and link back to it.

An email address is required to enter. Please leave it in your comment, or make sure one is visible for me to find in your blogger profile. If you qualify for additional entries please comment separately telling me which options you have used. A winner will be chosen via random.org. The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen. This contest is open to 18 + USA only. Ends on 4/23/10 @ 11:59PM EST. Winner will be announced the 25th or 26th, after the winner is confirmed.

Additional Details:
Format: DVD
Number of Discs: 1
Run Time: 2 hours 9 minutes
Language: English

The Fine Print: Discovery Channel has no idea who I am. They are not sponsoring this contest. This is all me, because I love you!

Ironically enough, PECO will be helping me get a little greener today. They are coming out to my house to do an energy audit... it helps them to report on how accurate their meters are recording, and it helps us to see where we can be saving energy. I'm very excited! Maybe a little too excited... we'll see how it actually goes. ;-)

* This is a pre-order, the DVD doesn't come out until the 1st of June... so the winner will receive their prize by mid-June.


seventh generation

And Twins Make 5 (who I found thru the UBP), is hosting a great, environmentally friendly contest sponsored by Seventh Generation. You can win some great, natural cleaning products.

Click the image above to find out how to enter.

I'm a big fan of Seventh Generation myself... I love their inspiration:

It means even more to me now that Gwen is here. I definitely think about what kind of world I'm creating for her, and her kids. I think their diapers are also my favorite size 1s so far! Lol.

So head on over and enter to win!

On a non-Earth Day related note, the IUD insertion went great yesterday. There were a few things I was worried about: 1) Gwen crying the whole time since I couldn't hold her while it was happening, 2) a lot of pain and not feeling well afterward, 3) the actual insertion itself. Well, my worries were for not. It was a breeze compared to last time, cramping during, but nothing like last time... and it was gone by the time I finished there and was driving away. As for Gwen, she was a rock star and relaxed on her changing mat the whole time, while I dangled her favorite jangling dog above her. That's my girl.

Another awesome moment... sleeping thru the night! My babe slept from 9:15pm to 6am!! In her crib! That's my big girl.  :-)

Today we have a lazy day at home, which is nice. I'm going to enjoy every last one of these that I have left... 3 weeks to go.


in honor of Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day’s historic 40th anniversary (on 4/22), BBC Earth will be offering Planet Earth’s first episode "Pole to Pole" for free instant download on iTunes April 12-26, 2010.

Planet Earth is an 11-part series presenting the epic story of life on Earth.  Four years in production, over 2000 days in the field, using 71 cameramen filming across 204 location in 62 countries, this is the ultimate portrait of our planet.

And in honor of Earth Day (Thursday), I'll be blogging something Earth Day or environment related everyday this week. Stay tuned!!

Also coming up... a contest for a special Earth Day related prize! (Well, really two... one by me, and one I'm reposting. Stay tuned for both!)

Ps. Trav was super sweet this weekend and told me to get lost on Sunday. He gave me a few precious hours of alone/mental health time. It was great. I got myself some Starbucks, and did a little shopping at Kohl's (had a gift card). I got myself some much needed pairs of shorts, some picture frames, and of course, a few items for Gwenie. Otherwise it was a lazy weekend.

Today... getting my IUD.  ::shudders::  Wish me luck.


2 months

Dear Gwenivere,

I can't believe you are 2 months old already. I'll probably say that every month, but really its amazing how the time flies by!

This has been a fun month, you are starting to do so much more. Like the 6 week smiles! Right on time girl. God really knew what he was doing when he made babies because those smiles start coming right at the perfect moment to give parents the extra boost to keep going with the long nights and tiring days!

And Gwen, your smiles are magic! I can't even describe how it melted my heart and filled me up the first time I saw you break into a grin... and even better was the first time I was sure that I caused it! Plus, you have one dimple, just like mommy does.  :-)

You are such a sweetie now. Just so happy in the mornings, which is a beautiful way to start the day. I put you on your changing table and you smile, and coo, and take in the pictures on it with great relish. You love those pictures! We probably spend 15 minutes each morning, after we are done with being changed, just looking at and "talking to" those picture.

After that you will normally hang out in your crib, watching your mobile until mommy is done peeing and brushing her teeth. It's a great new development which my bladder and teeth appreciate. And the fun stuff, doesn't end there. You are awake so much more during the day. We make faces at each other, read books, and sing songs. We also do tummy time, which you still hate... but which has paid off, with a strong neck and strong legs. Unfortunately for mommy's productivity, your naps all seem to need to be on me, at the moment. Its like there's a switch, and when I put you down, you go into wide awake mode. But we're working on that! 

Speaking of sleep... there are times when having you in bed with us is exhausting. And I don't even realize how much so until we have a night when you sleep for a few hours in your crib, and then I wake up to get you for the first time and it is magical how well I slept. But I still love it, and the times that I wake up before you, getting to watch your little eyelids twitch and hear your sweet sleeping sighs, well they make it all worthwhile.

Even better, the fact that you sleep like your daddy and I do, stretched out, with your hand thrown up over your head. I woke one night and caught you both sleeping like that, and it was only the siren call of sleep that kept me from jumping up right that minute to get a camera to capture the moment. The next morning I kicked myself a bit because it was just so adorable. Though it did make me wonder how we look... the three of us in a row, with our arms all thrown up above our heads like some weird roller coaster full of narcoleptics. It makes me wish I could have a photographer follow us around for a week, just to get these shots... the moments I want to remember forever.

But your sleep has improved. It still hit or miss whether you'll actually go down in your crib when we do you night routine. The routine worked perfectly for about a week, and has sporadically since then, but some nights you simply refuse to stay asleep until I hold you for an hour first. However your average at night is now closer to four hours, so that's good. And of course there was that one glorious night, 8 hours! And last night you gave us 7!! I can't wait for you to do that on a regular basis.

You are still breastfeeding like a champ, but now you're starting to take a bottle occasionally too. You are so out to give your daddy an ulcer though... since the bottle you decided to like is the expensive kind. And even that one doesn't hold a candle to the boob. But we're going to keep practicing this month, because daycare is looming, and it would be great if you would eat there!

You really seem to enjoy being outside now. We've been taking walks in the evening, all four of us, and you get so relaxed in the evening air. You'll often fall asleep, but if you don't, then you seem to love looking around at all the sights and the play of light. This is great timing too, since we're deep into a lovely spring.

The other day we took a blanket out into the yard to be with your puppy, which she loved. I can't wait until you are big enough to throw the ball to her. For now, we just watch your pup.

This month you've had your first holidays, and met a bunch of new people, and you are such a relaxed baby that you really take it all in stride. I hope you keep that trait for all your days. Relaxed and happy is the way to be!

Love forever,

by the Dixie Chicks

They didn't have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

I slip in bed when you're asleep
To hold you close and feel your breath on me
Tomorrow there'll be so much to do
So tonight I'll drift in a dream with you

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

As you wander through this troubled world
In search of all things beautiful
You can close your eyes when you're miles away
And hear my voice like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up


baby stuff - a review (finally)

Honestly, I've been really happy with all of our baby stuff. I like our pack'n'play (the changing station is awesome), our jogging stroller, our furniture, etc. I haven't tried our infant to toddler highchair yet, so no review there. But, below I list the things that really stick out for me... either because they are very good, very bad, or because there is something specific about them I want to mention.

As a side note, buy lots of plain, white, baby "under onesies" (as I call them). I like the Carter's and SpaSilk brands... Gerbers seem to run small. Their 0-3 fit like Carter's Newborns. They are great though for under one-piece outfits, as an extra layer under lighter clothes, or to keep diapers secure and catch any leaks!

- Methods Squeaky Green baby wash: OMG, I got this because it was made with natural ingredients, but I love it because it is gentle and smells AMAZING!

- wash cloth for covering baby in tub... I can't remember what this was called specifically, and can't seem to find it online. I know Babies'R'Us has them in store. Basically, any washcloth would work in theory, but we got this one as a gift, and Gwen loves it so much. Its a larger then normal washcloth that is (made to look like a duck! and) shaped to cover baby's body all the way over their shoulders, to keep them warm in the bath.
Bathtime went from this:

To this:

By the by... look how much longer/bigger my baby got! 

- Mei Tai: I do love my wrap! On the days that Gwen just refuses to be put down, and I need both hand, she gets wrapped. Its win-win, she's still being held, and I have my hands free! Its great for walks too, and she often falls asleep in it. Don't be intimidated by having to tie it... is so easy to learn, and once you do it a few times, its second nature.

- Prefold Diapers: They are perfect for wiping up spit up, or laying down under a slobbering baby, etc. I got some, not sure if we would use them... but we have them all over the house and use them constantly! Plus they are soft, and you really can't beat the absorbency. For something a little fancy, get one HERE... these are cute, and even softer then the regular ones. Gwen has one in Blue Brown Paisley.

A Waste:
- Simplisse Disposable Breast Pads: uncomfortable and stiff... I'll stick with the soft, flexible, secure Lansinoh ones.

- Nature Babycare diapers: I wanted to love these diapers... they are a green diaper, biodegradable and chlorine free... but they fit HORRIBLY and leak. We just had a big "poop-splossion" earlier today. It wasn't even a particularly full diaper, but it went everywhere. Not good.

In Between:
- Huggies diapers: We got five different brands of diapers to try at our baby shower. We had Pampers and Huggies in Newborn sizes, and Huggies, Seventh Generation, Nature Babycare, and Parents Choice in Size 1. The Newborn Huggies did not fit her well at all... they are the ones that we constantly had poop leaks from, while Pampers fit her great. Now we've moved her up to the size one diapers (eek!), and have found that the size 1 Huggies do fit her, no problems. So I guess its a bit hit or miss... and on that note:

- Seventh Generation diapers: They fit her great and I have no complaints. I love the wide tabs and, of course, that there is less harmful junk in them. The only reason they are here instead of in the "good" section is that they are definitely more expensive.

- Medela Swing Breast Pump: I really do love this pump, its works really well for me... but could I go back in time, I'd have registered for the double pump instead of single. Fitting in pumping is hard, it would be awesome to do it in half the time... especially when I go back to work and have to do it multiple times a day. But it is a good pump, and very compact.

- Our Swing, Playmat, etc: Gwen is JUST starting to be okay with being in the swing now, so if we hadn't gotten it for free, we definitely could have held off on buying it until later. But I know this one is totally different baby to baby, so...

- Snuggle Nest: This has been a lifesaver with having Gwen in bed, as I talked about here. My only complaint is, since we inclined the mattress slightly to help her with stuffiness, sometimes she would wiggle her little booty off one side. We were able to fix that by moving the sleep positioners way down, but could I go back, I probably would have gotten this one instead.