Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Five Months (a couple of weeks late)


You've been keeping your Mommy pretty busy these days! You're really growing and changing! You've finally gotten to a point where you love to play with toys, but you become frustrated so easily if you drop one, can't fit one in your mouth, or if it just isn't doing what you think it should do. *cue cute little grunts* You don't stay entertained for long, so your Mommy has to sing, dance, walk, and play with you pretty much the whole time you're awake. But, even though it's tiring, it's a blast! I love having you as my little buddy! Your smile fills my soul with overwhelming joy and I am beyond thankful to have you in my life.

- Your Jumperoo. That is, until you realize that you can't put the froggy that dangles overhead in your mouth. Then you get mad!
- Your swaddle, paci, and rock 'n play. Yep, we're still addicted to that threesome!
- Sitting up (mostly with support). You're sitting up on your own a little now -- you have to be in the right mood with the right toy in front of you to sit for a few seconds without support. But, otherwise you're still pretty dependent on Mommy or Daddy to provide you with support while sitting. Either way, you love sitting.
- Veggies! Your Mommy hates vegetables, so she is determined to turn you into a lover of them. So far you've had carrots and sweet potatoes, and you ADORE them. Yum, yum, yum, yum!
- Horton, the elephant. You still love to put his trunk in your nose.
- The game we play before bathtime... where Mommy holds you and Daddy hides in the bathroom and then comes running towards you. This game puts a great end to the day -- no matter if it's been a stellar or a fussy day.
- When Mommy sings to you -- it immediately brings a smile to your face.
- Playing typewriter -- a game Daddy invented.
- Going for walks with Mommy in the stroller. You love to look at the trees and feel the cool breeze on your face.

- When Mommy and Daddy eat in front of you when it's not time for you to eat. It makes you so mad!
- Dropping your butterfly toy. You love that toy and you get so frustrated when you're in the swing playing with it and then drop it.
- Belly time. Daddy is determined to get you to crawl, so that means lots of belly time. You hate it, though!
- Being bored. You must be entertained.
- When Gigi and Mommy get too excited about football; we scare you!

I wish I could bottle up all our time together so I could release it to experience all over again once you're grown. I know that can't happen and I know each and every stage of your life is going to bring its own joys. I look forward to the day when you first say "Mama" and mean it. I look forward to the day when you finally understand God's love for you. I look forward to the day when you meet the man you will spend the rest of your life with (of course, if it is God's will for you to marry). But, even though I'm excited about all of those things happening, I wish I could press pause, or at least run things in half time, because I'm having so much fun with you now. Every day with you is a gift and I'm so blessed to have you in my life, my little five month old baby.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Guide to Infant "Stuff"

My Top 5 "Must Haves" for Survival with a Newborn
1. Swaddle Blankets with Velcro: I'll admit it. I never learned how to swaddle with just a regular ole blanket. I've always needed one of those special ones with velcro. Daniel, on the other hand, can do a pretty mean tight swaddle with a blanket. But, since he's not around for every time the Little One goes to sleep, we had to invest in some specialty swaddle blankets. My pick: the Summer Swaddle Blanket. It was the only one that was able to tightly enough hold her arms down so she wasn't breaking out of it! (By the way, we're still swaddling. AHK! I know we'll have to stop soon, when she's able to roll from back to belly!)
Little girl... still being swaddled!

2. eRGObaby and Sling: There's no way around this. I love my custom made Karma Baby pouch for quick walking trips over to the church building, or popping in and out of Walmart. I adore my ERGObaby for longer wearing time. Be sure to do research, have multiple options, and don't be afraid to wear your baby! It's not very popular where we live, so I have heard some comments like, "Isn't she smothering?" (when Jenaleigh was sleeping), but I've learned to let them roll of my back. I know my baby loves being worn, and I love wearing her! If you're preggo and think you're going to lug around your heavy stroller just for a trip to the grocery store, or worse, put your carrier on top of the cart (major tip over hazard, ladies!), then think about how much easier wearing your baby would be!
3 Month Old Jenaleigh in her ERGObaby

3. Rock 'N Play. Our child did not sleep, except when laying on us. Needless to say, Daniel and I didn't sleep either -- until the Rock 'N Play entered our lives. The incline is great for reflux babies, and the coziness of it is fabulous for high needs kiddos! She's still sleeping in hers, and I dread the (upcoming) day when we have to transition to the crib.

Critter, when she was tee-tiny in her RNP.
At 4 months, in her RNP
4. Medela Free Style: Most of you know, I'm exclusively pumping. I don't know how I could have done it without the Free Style. It's handfree and battery powered, which was especially useful when Jenaleigh was smaller and would wake up while I was pumping, and I'd have to go get her, which I could with this pump still on! Also, since it's small, it's very easy to travel with. I'd recommend this to anyone who will need a pump, even if it's just for going back to work. I love it!

5. Sound Machine: Jenaleigh can sleep through a bulldozer (I'm not exaggerating -- when we were having our yard leveled, she did fine!), but when Daniel gets ice out of the refrigerator, she wakes up! Cue an appropriately placed sound machine mimicking the gentle sound of rain falling.... then all is well.

6. (Okay I know I said top five, but I almost forgot this most important item) -- MAM pacifiers. The only kind our baby will take...(or similarly shaped -- none of those lipstick shaped ones work for our little one!)

Honorable Mentions:
  • Diaper Genie (no more smelling poopies! even though for some strange reason this past Saturday a poopy diaper aroma lingered in her room... hmmm...)
  • Pack 'N Play (while she didn't sleep super in it, we love using it in our living room for play time and diaper changes)
  • Activity Play Mat (thanks, Deborah! Jenaleigh loves laying on this and playing with her toys)
  • Bumbo (we started using this with her around 3 months because of her great head control and she LOVED it) - however, her chunky monkey legs are getting stuck in it now
  • Nursing covers (my wonderful Mom made me some -- while I obviously am not using them for nursing at the moment, they're great for covering my up while pumping in the car!)
  • Swing -- It took her a good long while to even tolerate being in the swing, but now it's a lifesaver for when I need to shower, do dishes, etc...
I'm sure I'm forgetting some of my favorite items, but those are the only ones I can think of right now!

Item "Fails"
I'm sure there are many babies out there that these items do work for, but not our baby....
1) Small receiving blankets -- they were useful for a little while, but now I just use them as burp clothes!
2) The Boppy -- Let me say, the Boppy is wonderful for supported sitting or lounging, but as a nursing pillow it's not so hot (for us at least). For that -- I much prefer "My Brest Friend" (most horrible name in the entire universe, I know!) for a host of reasons.
3) Footed PJs -- Let me clarify that now they are great (even though we don't put her in them to sleep, since she stays swaddled for bed), but combine our little one's fussy temperament with our inexperience at changing a baby with the complicated snaps (or so we thought at the time) and you get one frustrated mommy and daddy. Thankfully, Jenaleigh's calmed down and we've gotten better at the whole changing a wiggly baby thing, so footies are a "go".
4) Newborn Socks and Shoes -- I know Jenaleigh didn't have monster newborn feet, but those tiny little socks and shoes would never stay on her feet. 0-3 ones worked though, thankfully!
5) Luvs Diapers -- Unfortunately Miss Critter had way too many blow outs in Luvs, so we have to stick with Pampers or Huggies.

What about you? What were your favs during the first few months of your baby's life? Not-so-favs?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bills, Bills, Bills

Remember that 3 week hospital stay that I had? And how I was whisked away in a helicopter to Louisville? You don't?

Well, I remember! It's hard to forget when the bills come piling in. Anyone want to venture a guess as to the cost of my whole stay and transport? Well, I won't reveal it all here, but in case you're curious, the helicopter transport ALONE was $45,000. Thankfully we had decent adequate private insurance (preacher's usually have to find and buy their own private insurance, which also costs.... you guessed it ... alot!) that covered about 75% of our total cost ('copter and hospital). Combine that will generous 'rents and we were left with just a fraction of what the total bill was. We are so blessed to not be under the giant mountain that we would have been without that help!

Tuesday morning, though, I woke up around 6 am thinking about the bills. I just couldn't get them out of my mind. I was making little payments here and there that seemed to not amount to much. So, I thought to myself, "Self, what would Dave do?"

Dave = Dave Ramsey. Financial guru extraordinaire, who dishes out advice your grandmother would give, except he keeps his teeth in.

Dave would pay off the bills from smallest to largest. (As outlined in baby step #2 -- the "debt snowball").

With my new found zeal for getting those bills off of my mind, I hopped on the phone and started taking care of things. I'm super happy to say that we only have three left (obviously the largest), and it's my *plan* that we can have those paid off by the beginning of 2013. It will be beyond great to have no debt again!

(For more info on Dave, visit

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crafty? Who, Me?

I have never ever ever ever ever ever have considered myself a "crafty" person. But, since Pinterest has become my new obsession pastime, I have been inspired to try to live up to my name of  "Martha" (minus the whole insider trading/prison stint).

So, what to craft first? Well, since I am obsessed with hair accessories for Jenaleigh, and they add up to quite a bit of $$, what better project to start with first --- fabric flowers! had so much fun doing them that I may even open up my own hair bow/flower store on Etsy... Who knows?!

A close up of the fabric flower that I crafted with my own two hands. Seriously, I'm in awe of myself... ;-)

My beautiful model chilling with her new hair flower (Note: I only made the flower, not the white headband, one baby step at a time, my friends!):

Grump, grump?
 Happy again...

 I love chewing me some fingers!