Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Unhappy to report...

...that our little munchkin is not sleeping as well anymore.

Chalk it up to the time change, teeth, a developmental milestone, or who knows what, but the relative ease with which I used to be able to put Mia down for a nap has quickly escaped in the last few days and weeks.  It started with the afternoon nap becoming a major challenge, when it moved back an hour or two from 2ish to 3 or even 4pm.  

At least the morning naps were easy, right?  (PSYCH!)  The last few days we've gone from easy morning naps where she snuggles with me and then snuggles in her crib and passes out for a good 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours to wrestling with that morning nap for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours before she's really down.  It's noon and she's just now settled for her "morning" nap, and the same thing happened yesterday.

We're at a major loss so I've called in the troops.  My friend just lent me her Dr. Ferber book, which significantly helped her sleeping problems with her 11 month old.  He now sleeps through the night, for the first time in his whole life.  Bless their hearts!  Mia has been sleeping through the night for the last few months thankfully, but has just become a very difficult napper.  Although if the napping problem isn't corrected it will most likely affect her nighttime sleep too.  This book has lots of suggestions and solutions for solving children's sleep problems and I hope it provides some answers and success for us.

So here's to hoping for a better report sometime soon because the joy of our days is quickly draining when half of it is spent trying to get a wee little one to just sleep!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

on an island far far away...

Well it wasn't an island but it was Clearwater, which is far enough!

Last night Greg & I went to a concert.  What, you didn't know parents did that?  Well, it had been a while. The last concert we went to was a last-minute, pay for your tix at the door sort of thing for John Mayer & Sheryl Crow in August 2008.  It was actually the weekend we found out we were expecting, and so I went wondering if the sound was going to bother my baby's developing eardrums.  Srsly.

Alas, we went to Clearwater to see Mat Kearney & Ingrid Michaelson.  It was, for lack of a better word, awesome!  They played at Ruth Eckerd Hall--first time we had been there--and the venue, the sound, the energy, were all perfect.  It's not a huge venue, as the name "hall," suggests, but the seats are plenty cushy and everyone brought their A-game.  Greg's more of a Mat Kearney fan, but as he's listened to my Ingrid CD about 5 billion times because it basically was permanently implanted in our CD changer, he recognized most of her songs.  They both were brilliant.  Enthusiastic and clever and Ingrid is very funny.  *Sigh*

Mia was left in the capable hands of Miss LPK and Aunt Allison.  We tried to get her to say "Al" before the girlies came over but she didn't go for it.  I've heard her say things like "Rorwa" so maybe she already has L's name down.  Who knows.  I was a bit nervous leaving her with someone else for bedtime -- I guess that is typical new parent territory -- but she did pretty well from the report we received.  A little bouncing here and there, but she went down around 9:30 so that's not too shabby.  

I tried to take pictures of Mia yesterday--wannabe photographer here--to get something good for her birthday invites.  I really wasn't that successful getting her to look at me, smile at the camera and look natural, but I did wind up with a few decent ones:

Speaking of, her birthday is now just one month away!  Her birthday party is just a couple of days before.  It's mind-blowing to realize we've come this far and to think about what we were doing just a year ago at this time.  A lot of baby prep.  Totally different lifestyle.  Good times!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mia "Walks"!

Mia "Walks"! from Megan Ciampa on Vimeo.
Mia (≈11mos) hustles around the family room with her walker and encounters some roadblocks along the way.

Tip: You might want to pause the audio player below before watching the video :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm on fire!! / Mia's Birth Story

I'm on fire!!

Not literally, but actually that title is a bit apropos as last night I almost started a kitchen fire. I shant get into the details, but everything's cool, thankfully! Phew. :P

Nah, I'm on fire because I've been re-inspired to write Mia's birth story almost a year de post facto. I just read Jamie's birth story about baby Dylan and that was basically all the push (no pun intended) I needed to rewrite this story.

As I've alluded to before, Mia was born at a free-standing birth center. Before I was even pregnant or had the thought of being pregnant, I was nonchalantly invited to see a screening of "The Business of Being Born," at USF's College of Public Health by my nurse friend, Laura. That viewing, plus a few other casual conversations with people along the way, basically changed the way I thought about childbirth, and convinced me I wanted to pursue the natural route. When I found I was pregnant, I was still a patient at an ob/gyn group and saw them up until 28 weeks, as Greg & I were still making decisions about where we wanted to deliver Mia. At the ob/gyn group, we could choose one of two hospitals in the area, and I'd heard great things about both. However, when I asked my primary OB about the chances of delivering naturally (which for me, means no pain medication, little to no interventions), she said that probably 10% or less of her patients actually end up delivering naturally, although perhaps more than that percentage wanted to. When I heard that, my heart sank. I really liked the group and the two doctors I had seen the most, but my goal was for a natural delivery and I just didn't feel optimistic staying with them that I would achieve my goal.

Earlier on in my pregnancy, I had toured a nearby birthing center (Labor of Love). A church friend worked there as a birth assistant, and I knew several acquaintances who had delivered there. Of course, they all loved it and raved about it: "It was great!" "I would never go anywhere else." "The staff there is so awesome." So, once Greg got to tour it as well, and we talked to more people about it, just about the time I was to undergo my glucose testing, I made the switch. Once we made the switch, we were pretty hard-core about it, because we knew we needed to stay strong about our decision and that some people would give us grief about it. I think some of the grief was also laced with concern. Concern that delivering at a birth center would be risky if there were emergencies. But we talked to the staff there and found out: they don't take chances. You have to qualify to birth there, in other words, be low-risk. If there's a question, they consult with fellow midwives, or the doctor's office that consults with them. They're not afraid to tell you to go to the hospital to get something checked out, which I did once for high blood pressure. There's a fire station very closeby, and an ambulance can be there within minutes and take you to the closest hospital, which is 7-10 minutes away. But, I wasn't focusing on the "what ifs" at that point really. I was focusing on how to make this experience the most pain-free, easy & peaceful experience possible. And thanks to God, it was. Here's our story.

I measured within range, but probably always a bit on the smaller side, throughout the last half of my pregnancy. I never really got HUGE, as I looked back on it, but I was still within the fundal measurement range and my weight gain was normal as well. However, as a new mom, I thought, hmmm, maybe my April 29 due date is a bit off. I'll probably deliver a week or two late. And the birth center lets you go up to two weeks, although they try to help you along so you don't get to 42 weeks! I had been taking an herbal supplement and some evening primrose oil just to help my body to get ready anyway, but as I told my chiropractor I thought, "I'll probably be late. I don't feel super huge, and I'm not getting crampy or anything, so (even though I quit my job a week and a half before my due date) I'll probably have a lot of time before she gets here." He said a lot of times a mother's intuition is correct, and I tend to believe him on a lot of things, so I figured he was right. But sometimes a mom's intuition and a baby's will aren't always in stride, and I'm cool with that.

(37 weeks)

(37 weeks, 2 days)

April 25 was a Saturday where Greg & I had planned to get a lot done. We were about to go to IKEA in Orlando to look at a couch for our front room, but we called before we left and found out it wasn't in stock. Bummer. So, since we weren't going to go, our plans for the day were now up in the air, and we just decided to take it easy, and piddled around the house doing odds & ends, but nothing too strenuous. We had been pretty busy almost every weekend prior, making sure baby gear and Mia's room were ready. Saturday night, we went to Five Guys Burgers & Fries, and saw my younger brother Jackson in the parking lot with his girlfriend Katie. They were going to get dinner at nearby Chipotle, but after they were done, they came inside to Five Guys and socialized with us. I remember being glad we ran into them, because Jackson was about to graduate from Florida College, and I knew I wouldn't see him much anymore. We joked that by ordering the cajun fries I'd go into labor. We joked about a lot of things, and then they were on their way to some other social engagement. Greg & I left, stopped by Lowe's, and then headed home. I read a few more pages in my Bradley book, had Greg check out some of the pages I wanted him to read about labor, had a good "freeing" conversation about some fears of parenthood, did some relaxation exercises, and just hung out till real late. Unnecessarily late, perhaps, but we had no idea what was in store.

About 5:12am Sunday, I woke up thinking, hmm...those fries did NOT sit right with me! I got up feeling a funky cramp in my belly and headed to the bathroom. I laid back down again, and around 5:30, felt the same crampy feeling. I woke up Greg and said, "I think I may be having contractions. I just had one 15 minutes ago and now here's another one."

Greg's response was comical. He got up right away and started cleaning a lot of things in our house. He may have even vacuumed. I tried to eat a few things but found out my body wasn't holding down food. I got on the birthing ball and swayed around, and around 7 or so, we texted our friend Juline and shared our symptoms and she said, "Sounds like labor :)" Hearing someone else confirm that was exciting and a bit surreal. You anticipate it, but are sometimes in disbelief when it happens, especially because in our case, we still had "3 days" to go!

Around 8, Greg called our doula, Stephanie, and she came over to observe and monitor my contractions. Greg downloaded an app on his iPhone called contraction master, which was an awesome tool to track how long each contraction was and the time inbetween. I pretty much stayed in our tub from 8-11, when Stephanie decided it was time to head to the birth center.

Of course, the leisurely drive to the birth center was anything but. Greg was a bit impatient with all the stoplights and drivers we encountered. I unfortunately was puking into a little bowl we had brought with us, and Stephanie was in her car following. We got to the birth center around 11:30 and as soon as we saw our midwife Andrea, I felt a bit relieved and also happy/sad. She checked me and I was 4cm dilated and 95% effaced! Only 6 more centimeters to go.

From 11:30am-4:45pm, I labored. A lot. They gave me some IV fluids as soon as I got there because anything I tried to eat, I'd regurgitate. Plus, I needed an antiobiotic becuase I had tested positive for GBS, which was delivered through the IV. The IV fluids were super helpful in giving me some energy again, and later in the afternoon, I was able to sip some water and/or energy water. We tried every labor position, the bed being the most uncomfortable. The birthing ball and rocking chair were also out, as they relaxed me too much and my labor stalled. So, my doula had me walk around the back portion of the birth center, outside, and squat during a lot of contractions. Those were tough, but oh so necessary to getting Mia further down the birth canal. I also sat on the toilet a lot. (Sidenote: This is a very relaxing sitting position for a lot of women, myself included.) I also tried the tub towards the end, indifferent about a water birth. From 3-4:30, my contractions were incredibly intense. I was shaking through the ends of each contractions because they were so powerful. Andrea encouraged me to vocalize through the end of them and not let myself tense up, so while I had been very quiet through most of my labor and had my eyes closed, I started moaning, which sounded like a very strong humming. I should add that Juline arrived after 12, and added a very calm and confident voice to the labor.

Around 4:45pm, I was checked and found out I was complete! I was pleasantly surprised and also a bit scared. I knew my body had done a lot of hard work but still wasn't expecting this to be "the time." I was encouraged to start pushing through the next contraction, even though I hadn't felt the urge to push yet. However, once I started pushing, the urge soon followed.

I had no idea how to push or how to get leverage and it was a bit hard to find that leverage in the tub. Plus, the tub is so relaxing and masks a lot of pain, so I wasn't sure how effective my pushing had been. After several pushes in the tub, Andrea suggested we move to the bed and start pushing there. She had a guarded intensity that told me we needed to work fast. Once I got more leverage by sitting back on the bed, I was able to push better. I was also given oxygen to keep my vitals up. And this is about the only time I got "loud" during labor. I was grunting pretty forcefully when I pushed to the point that I scratched my throat!

I really had to bear down to push Mia out. At one point, they told me they could see a bit of her hair & head and I was able to feel that. Crazy! For the next push I really needed to get her out more, but instead of crowning, Mia literally came flying out. Andrea caught her, but it was a bit of a juggling act, because I don't think everybody was ready for her to come out so quickly. It was 5:36pm. Happy birthday, Mia!!

They immediately put Mia on my chest and gave her some oxygen and she perked up right away. Greg got to cut her cord and hold her for a long time after she was born while I got the lovely task of expelling the placenta!

You know some people immediately cry when their baby is born? I wasn't actually the emotional one when Mia was born, Greg was more emotional than I was. I was shocked, happy and relieved. I couldn't believe she had arrived and I did it! I've now birthed a baby. That was a really big deal. I'm so grateful we had the pleasant birth experience. I could not have asked for anything more. Everything was very peaceful. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and our whole labor team was super supportive and calming and encouraged us the whole time.

I think things that made our birth experience go so well:
  • the people [a midwife who had delivered hundreds of babies healthy & safe; calm birth assistants (Nicole); friends (Juline); and our amazing doula who really helped the labor progress by putting me in situations where my body was forced to take action; and of course Greg who stood by throughout everything]
  • the place (the birth center is well-equipped for several situations and has lots of ways for you to relieve pressure throughout contractions and is cozy & comfortable)
  • the preparation (we went to childbirth classes, read books, talked, did relaxation exercises, so that when the time came we had an idea of what to expect)
  • the plan & the providence (God certainly had a hand in delivering Mia safely and there were times when I was in so much pain that I thought, Jesus has felt worse than this...I can do this!!)

Even though it was super tough work, knowing there's a goal in sight makes it so much more bearable. My doula told me weeks before Mia was born, when I said my one fear about going the natural route was not being successful, was that any woman can do it. It's humanly possible, you just have to know what your limits are. And I stretched my limits and opened my heart that day and now we have a "Lil' Mia"!

why can't I comment?

I've had a few people mention to me that they are--for some reason I can't ascertain--unable to leave comments on this blog. I actually had the very thing happen to me this morning, until I continually clicked the "Post Comment" button and my comment *magically* appeared.
So, I'm not sure what the deal is, but maybe just persist and it will work!?

It's a real bummer that it's not working because I love to hear from anyone who follows or reads this blog! I hope it won't prevent you from trying again in the future.

In the meantime, I've been re-inspired to write Mia's birth story, which will take the place of the post that would probably have been entitled "All About Natural Childbirth," because I realized that's a very in-depth subject to try to cover on my own and it'd be a bit audacious of me to think I could get to it all. I'm just the expert on Mia's birth, since I was there and did it! So, be on the lookout for that.

While you're waiting...what's the weather like "in your neck of the woods"? (I've been watching too much of the Today Show and now sound like Al Roker.)

It's finally springy here, 61°F and sunny. Ahhhh :D

Friday, March 19, 2010

All About Cloth Diapering

This is the second installment in our series of "how we do things" around here. I first spoke about "Exclusive Pumping" a few weeks ago, and today I tackle the hefty subject of cloth diapering.

First of all, let me spell out a few truths about me & cloth diapering:

  1. Cloth diapering is not a life or death thing. While I'm a huge fan of cloth diapering, I'm not so adamant that you must cloth diaper that I will judge you if we don't. I'll let you in on a little secret: Even though we cloth diaper almost 100% of the time, we still use disposables every now and then (gasp!!), and I'll later explain why. [Cloth diapering may hereafter be referred to as "CD".]
  2. I'd still consider myself a student of CD. I'm not a know-it-all expert, nor do I want to pose as one, because there are still things I'm figuring out myself and as I post this, I know others will have suggestions or lessons learned they might want to share. But as I have learned, when you start something new, you usually learn a LOT all at once, and you can kind of become a semi-expert in no time. Or at least learn the lingo, concepts, practices, etc., pretty quickly--enough to get by.
  3. Cloth diapering is just cute. (Note lil' 5 month old Mia in her apple green Fuzzibunz below!) Plain and simple. People may think CD is gross ("ewww, what do you do with all that poo??!") but, you do the same thing with the poo that you'd do with disposables--or at least, what you're supposed to do: toss it!
    From The Ciampa Channel

So, as succinctly as only I know how ;) here's my spiel on the world of cloth diapers:

There are a lot of reasons to cloth diaper. You can google "why cloth diapers" and you'll find loads of results. I think Diaper Safari summed it nicely. If you're looking for a cost-effective, eco-friendly, healthy & safe alternative to disposables, cloth is the way to go. It's cost-effective because in the long run, you spend less to purchase a good set of cloth diapers, wash and maintain them, than you do by purchasing packages of disposables regularly. It's eco-friendly because it cuts down on the waste sent to landfills, which can take hundreds of years to decompose, and the energy spent washing the diapers still has less of an impact on your carbon footprint than disposables. It's healthy & safe because cloth diapers do not contain the same chemicals in many popular disposable diaper brands. Doesn't it seem like there's a new health scare everyday about dangerous environmental toxins? Using cloth diapers is one way you can rest assured you are reducing your little one's chemical exposure. (That was a big reason for us. I may not be able to protect Mia from every dangerous or synthetic chemical but I can do one small part!)

Now that you know some of the reasons many cloth diaper, how do you do it?

Well first of all, it's helpful to know there are a few different ways to cloth diaper. Aside from the fact that some parents CD full-time or just part-time (e.g., perhaps a child is in childcare and the center only uses disposable, but the parents use CD at night), there are also a few different kinds of cloth diapers:
  • prefolds & covers - a 2 piece diaper system
  • pocket diapers - a 2 piece diaper system
  • all-in-ones (AIOs) - a 1 piece diaper system (as the name implies!)

Prefolds & Covers are the most inexpensive route.

Prefolds are most likely what your mom or grandmother used for CD.
You just add a little cover to your baby's bum, and you're done! The cover prevents leaks.

Pocket diapers are some of the most popular cloth diaper systems, and the kind I'm most familiar with. We use brands like Fuzzibunz, BumGenius, and some Smartipants, and I have friends who use Happy Heinys as well.

Pocket diapers have an outer waterproof cover with a pocket where you insert an absorbent fluffy material, the "insert," that soaks up all the leaks. Some brands make various sizes to fit your baby as he/she grows, and some have one-size diapers with adjustable snaps so you can, as the name suggests, adjust the size of the diaper to your growing baby.

I have got to hand it to BumGenius; they are currently our favorite pocket diaper and the only one we use overnight!

All-in-Ones are the easiest to use as there is only one piece and no pocket, prefold, or cover to mess with. They can be a bit more expensive route and sometimes take longer to dry, but there's no searching for the missing insert or wondering which piece goes with what.

How many cloth diapers do I need?
How many diapers you need is somewhat of a personal choice and can depend on the kind (prefolds, pockets or AIOs). Some mommas want the minimum amount possible to save on money, which will require more washing. This would probably be in the range of 12-18 diapers, where you wash every 1 to 1.5 days. If you can afford it, I'd recommend anywhere from 20-30, so that you can wash every 2-3 days. Taking longer than 3 days to wash can result in stinky smelly buildup, which no one wants to deal with!

How do I cloth diaper when I'm out for the day?
Just pack as many cloth diapers as you think you'll need, and make sure you get a travel wet bag. I received a free wetbag when I made a purchase at an online diaper store, and I love it! I just put the soiled diapers in the wet bag, and when I get home and am ready to wash all my diapers, I unzip the bag, toss it in the wash with all the other diapers, and voila! they're good to go. I don't have to worry about any smells or leaks into my diaper bag.

How do I take care of them?
This is the question with which I'm still experimenting. There are many ways mommas take care of their cloth diapers. Some change their baby, toss the stinkies in the toilet (or use a diaper sprayer for the waste that is hard to just toss off), and toss the diaper into a pail with a liner, or a bag specifically for cloth diapers (which is what we currently use). When it's time to wash, you take the bag, invert into your washer so you don't have to touch all the soiled diapers, and then follow these general suggestions:
  • cold rinse
  • hot wash using about 1/2 recommended amount of detergent
  • cold rinse
  • tumble dry low or hang to dry

Hanging or laying your diapers outside is also a free & natural disinfectant and bleacher. The sun's rays often will lift ugly stains from your diapers, thus naturally bleaching them!

What detergents?
You want to avoid baby detergents or free & clear detergents as they can cause buildup on your diapers, which will result in their working less effectively (think: leaks, smells, gross!).
These are the generally recommended detergents:
Allens Naturally; Tide (the regular kind); Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin; Charlie's Soap; Country Save; Planet Ultra; Oxy Prime; Sun Free; Rockin' Green Cloth Diaper Detergent.
Many of my friends just use Tide and find it totally fine.

If you do find your diapers are smelly or have build-up, there are a lot of troubleshooting options as listed on Jack's Magic Beanstalk, but "stripping" your diapers by washing them a few times in the hottest water cycle, or adding a squirt of Dawn dish detergent, or adding a few drops of Tea Tree Oil or Grapeseed Extract can often help. Consult your diaper's manufacturer if you have specific questions; sometimes there are "no-nos" on how to care for your diapers and you do not want to void the warranty if you can help it!

When can I start?
Anytime! We did not start cloth diapering Mia until she was a little over 3 months, as I was still researching it and wanted to make the right investment, but, if you have the diapers that fit your baby, many start soon after birth (within the first month). Even if you did not CD with your first child, you can still save money and CD additional children. I had a friend who started CD her 1.5 year old just at night and uses disposables at daycare. So, "one-size [does] not fit all" in this department--it's totally up to you!

Now...where to buy!!?
So many options for that as well!
You can search locally first, to see if there's a shop or an individual who sells cloth diapers. In Tampa, there is DNADiapers, run by Angela.
Online, there are lots of stores. I and my friends have used and/or like:
or just go straight to the manufacturer's website!

And oh yeah, when we do not use cloth diapers:
You can, and many people are brave enough to, but we have not used cloth diapers when we travel, especially by plane. It's more to pack and keep up with (and wash) while you are away and sometimes we cannot deal with the extra hassle. There are some great disposable diaper brands that have safer ingredients, like Seventh Generation or Earth's Best. Huggies also has a Pure & Natural line, which is often the easiest brand to find at most retailers (compared to Earth's Best or Seventh Generation). We still use the regular brands from time to time as they are great at preventing leaks and you can almost always find them at the store, but if you're looking for something more in line with your cloth diapering mindset, I'd recommend the brands I just listed.

Great, concise information & troubleshooting for common problems :
Jack's Magic Beanstalk

My friend Sarah Moran's article for the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Cloth Diapers!

So, do you use cloth diapers? Why or why not? Do you have questions that I did not answer? Or, what are some tricks you've learned along the way that make it a lot easier? Or how do you use them differently? I'd love to hear your responses so please share!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

normal days

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day, I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." - Mary Jean Iron

Monday, March 15, 2010

the "jostle"

I'll try to resist the urge to commence every blog post with the definition of the word in the title, but I curiously looked up "jostle" and was intrigued enough by its etymology & date, that I thought in this case, hey, if the blog commencement definition thang ain't broke, don't fix it.

Main Entry: 1jos·tle
Pronunciation: \ˈjä-səl\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): jos·tled; jos·tling \-s(ə-)liŋ\
Etymology: alteration of justle, frequentative of 1joust
Date: 1546

intransitive verb 1 a : to come in contact or into collision b : to make one's way by pushing and shoving <jostling toward the exit> c : to exist in close proximity
2 : to vie in gaining an objective : contend <jostled to get a glimpse of the celebrity>transitive verb 1 a : to come in contact or into collision with b : to force by pushing : elbow c : to stir up : agitate jostled us awake> d : to exist in close proximity with
2 : to vie with in attaining an objective

You may think I'm going to talk about the jostling that occurs when shifting just one hour forward with a baby thanks to Daylight Savings Time. In fact, I could very easily discuss that. (She napped about 2 seconds yesterday, and then slept soundly from 9pm-1am, then 2am-9am last night. I wasn't a big fan of the 1-2am party, but I loved sleeping in till 9!)

But while I'm not really going to talk about Daylight Savings Time, it does play a factor in today's story.

So, as stated, Mia woke up a bit late today, especially compared to last week's standard, where awaking around 6:30am was scarily becoming the norm. This resulted in her napping through lunchtime, which was cool until she woke up around 1:45pm, and then I really wasn't sure what to do. Most days, she goes back to sleep for a late afternoon nap around 3 or 4pm, but seeing as how everything was just a few hours off today, and it was a beautiful day out, I was feeling the need to get outside/out of the house and socialize with somebody. It had been a while since I had called upon my friend Daphne, but lo & behold, I found her on Facebook Chat and she graciously welcomed us over to her house as one of her little ones would be napping and she couldn't meet for the walk I had proposed.

We made our way over to Daphne's, with a quick stop at the Coffee Beanery--unfortunately another disappointing visit. As I used to work there...almost 6 years ago...I like to give it some support in a very Starbucks-proliferated market (which I do indeed love & take advantage of at nearly every opportunity). However, I was again reminded why they have not really exploded on the Tampa scene: their customer service leaves much to be desired. Another example where "culture" plays a big role in the delivery of service and products. It's almost like comparing Publix to Sweetbay. Publix ("where shopping is a pleasure") vs. Sweetbay (unfortunately can't even think of their slogan) ... I gotta throw SB a few bones, but Publix is always a better experience. Alas, I digress. I picked up two iced mochas for me & Daphne, as I thought I recalled there being a "Mocha Monday" deal, although I felt like I had to finagle both baristas who assisted me as it seemed as if they had never heard of this. I wasn't trying to pull a fast one on them, I just recalled receiving several emails some time back about this promo that seemed to last a few months. So perhaps they were newer employees or perhaps their short/long-term memory was inept because while they honored this deal, they looked at me like I didn't even know what a mocha was. Excuse me. (I did not mention I was one of the inaugurating employees!!)

So, at Daphne's, Mia checked out the risen sandbox tray on the patio, while Ava made us a few delectable treats: soup, cake, milkshakes, etc., of course all from the finest of sands. Daphne & I shot the breeze, while literally enjoying the breeze, and just caught up on life. (Corbin was napping his little self out.) Eventually I realized Mia's window of non-napping had come to a close and it was time for us to go. We grabbed our belongings, thanked Daphne for her hospitality, and Ava for all the treats, and were on our way.

No more than half a mile from Daphne's house, I was stopped in a curved right turn lane--yielding--as I waited for the right moment to enter the now more heavily ensuing traffic on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. There's barely any room to merge at that particular spot, so picking the right time is important. As I checked and waited, I suddenly felt this BOOM! and realized we had been jostled a bit (how much, I'm not sure). I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a little Jaguar convertible right behind us, and then looked at Mia and realized she had been startled as she began to cry.

I really wasn't sure what to do at that point. From where I was, still sitting in the driver's seat, I could not have imagined that the damage could be very bad. Yet I could already see the driver getting out of his car, ready to assess the damage. I hopped out and saw he was an older gentleman, a grandpa, perhaps, who already seemed quite apologetic while also deflecting much of the damage. "I think it looks like my headlight popped out and made a bit of scratch on your bumper. It could probably be buffed out really easily." From what I could tell, he seemed correct, but you know you never want to be talked out of something that needs to be taken care of when it may be very costly for you down the road. He said he wanted to avoid making an insurance claim, which I think I probably wanted to avoid too. I didn't really know what to do, so I called Greg. The man offered to talk to Greg but Greg turned that down. I just took two pictures with my camera phone, got the man's number, and listened as he explained why he bumped into me. He said something about talking to his wife on the phone, not realizing I had stopped, and then hitting me. I said, "This is understandable, it could easily happen to anyone, we'll get it figured out." I think that may have avoided completely letting him off the hook, while also trying to reduce a bit of the guilt he seemed to be feeling. Honestly, what do you do in that case? I did feel bad for him, but I also felt protective of us. In the car, Mia was freaking out. I'm trying to figure out what's the best way to handle this and be gracious towards him, and I think he's trying to slightly minimize the situation. Anyway, we exchanged names, I got his digits and then we drove off.

Mia was still spazzing and unfortunately I really need to get gas in the car, so while I was filling up the tank, I could see her through the windows desperately crying at me. Poor baby! Her bottle had ran out and nothing else was appeasing her, so while we made the mad dash home there was little I could do but hope the hum of the road would soothe her a bit.

It didn't, so when we got home, she got a fresh diaper, I heated up a bottle and then we settled into the glider where she fell asleep while eating. When she does that you know she's pretty tired. She slept for a good hour & a half (a bit late in the day for her but she's still a bit off from DST).

I thought that was enough havoc for one day, but after she woke up from the nap, Greg went to get her and as he was taking care of her dirty diaper (just a step or two away from the changing table), I heard a noise and then heard Greg say, "I just caught her midair as she rolled off the changing table." I ran into the room to see Greg holding a half-naked baby looking a little freaked out.

What's more is during bathtime, Mia swallowed a bunch of water while she was rolling around in the tub and I had to pat her back to make sure she was okay. I was right there next to her but babies are so slippery in the tub and she's so mobile that she rolled around and swallowed that water before I could prevent it from happening. You can be sure that was the end of bathtime!

If things come in 3's, then I'm *hoping* we met our quota today.

Beware the Ides of March!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

the t-shirt

Just so you know, I am working on that cloth diapering post, but, as I've started it about 75,432 different times, I'm just not sure how I want it to land. Softly, I suppose.

But in the meantime....

the "shirt"

It must have been the shirt. Or something. I'm really not sure what it was and I could definitely call out teething to be the culprit, because, until all 20 something of Mia's baby teeth are in, won't she always be teething? But lo & behold, today I put her in "My Uncle is My Hero" t-shirt, lovingly given to her by her Uncle Nate at Christmas. Tomorrow's her Uncle Luke's birthday, and the weather is a bit warmer today than it has been of late, so I thought a t-shirt would suffice.

But the girl won't nap. Well, she napped pretty easily this morning, falling asleep in my arms still desperately sucking on an empty bottle. I even placed her in the crib and her suction was so strong that the bottle was sticking 90° straight up in the air. Yet this afternoon was a different story, and while it's frustrating, there comes a point where you just have to brush your shoulders off.

Since she woke up from her AM nap around 10:30, I figured by 1:30 she'd probably be tired for her PM nap. Except that at 2:27pm she was still awake in her crib and not happy.

See? Not happy. Blurry picture because mommy took it so quickly walking into my room.

Oh wait, now I'm okay. I see you are taking a picture of me, so that must mean it's party-time and I'm down with that. I wasn't crying. No, not me. I'm cool. Brushing my shoulders off as we speak.

Plan B: Drive around until she falls asleep. Around 3:17pm I no longer hear her playing with her pacifier in her carseat on I-75, and I turn around to see her head's tilted to the side and she's sleeping. Man, she looks almost perfect, like an angel. I head on home and deliberate if I should try the carseat-to-crib transfer that Greg demonstrated so ably yesterday. As I set her carseat in her room with her still asleep in it, I breathe a sigh of relief that she is finally asleep and maybe now I'll get some "me-time". A few minutes later I wander into her room, check on her and consider just how I'd transfer her to her crib if I were to. She must have heard the voices in my head because her eyes flickered open, and then realized I was staring at her. Oops. I closed the door, thinking maybe she's so tired she'll go back to sleep.


Guess not. So, she got a 20-25 minute nap, which is better than nothing, but now my gas light is on empty and I've lost my motivation to make a more involved dinner (anything that requires skinning potatoes, boiling them & then mashing is involved in my book).

So, why would the shirt be the culprit? Because you see, my older brothers loved to taunt & tease me as wee little lass so I wouldn't be so shocked to find out that that one of them found a way to torture me via my infant child now, even if it meant haunting her t-shirt resulting in wakeful, restless afternoons for the both of us. Bros, could you have done such a thing??

Yes, for you, I have added the tag "indignation" to this post. Luke, happy birthday tomorrow, and Nate, while you may be Mia's hero, next time you see her, you are on diaper duty. Full-time. Booyah.

The views expressed on this blog may at times be exaggerated for the sake of comic relief and so that the writer can focus on something other than the fact that she spent 2.5 hrs trying to get her little one to sleep this afternoon with barely any respite. And she typed this out so she could use words like "respite," "lass," and "indignation." Thank you for reading.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What am I doing today?

I have a lot I want to do today, but while I'm sitting here blogging, and pondering over the new font I just installed (Greg is not a fan of it, so don't be surprised if it makes as quick an exit as it made an entrance), Mia is pulling books off the shelf next to me. Books Greg just ordered from Barnes & Noble, books her Granddad wrote (did you know he writes textbooks?), books I saved from my college learning, books people lent us that probably should have been returned anywhere from 1-8 years ago. And prior to that, she crawled around most of the house, following me, finding various diaper bags of hers and other things, pulling everything out of them. It was as if we just experienced a tornado in our house. And in between those two events, she was attempting to walk from an ottoman to a wooden chair, and fell over and hit her forehead on one of the horizontal pegs on the chair. I foresee a bruise moving in there sometime soon.

So...instead of telling you what I'm doing today, I just told you what Mia's doing today. Here's proof of the devastation:

learning how to grab books from baby friend knox on Tuesday

repeating this behavior on her own 2 days later, with the scrunchy face (a new face she picked up in Arizona, often in response to bright sunlight or seeing her mommy)

the aftermath

Looks like we have a lot of reading to do!

Another giveaway

Overheard on another blog site...

I first heard of The Vintage Pearl from NieNie Dialogues (Stephanie Nielsen).

Now, GiveAway Today is giving away gift certificates!

Looks pretty cool!

Monday, March 1, 2010

What's for dinner?

...This is a frequently asked question in our household, often resulting in fear, dread and panic on my end. Just ask Greg. While I sometimes meal-plan, oftentimes it doesn't hit me until late in the afternoon that I haven't even thought about what we're going to eat for dinner. Thankfully, my mental resources of late have been able to scrounge up something decent for the two of us to eat, but more and more lately I'm realizing, soon, it's going to be the THREE of us.

Which sorta scares me. Greg & I don't eat awfully, which in my mind conjures up images of driving thru fast-food places day & night and stuffing our faces with pre-packaged crazy sugared items, but we don't eat perfectly, which in my mind conjures up images of eating whole, fresh, sometimes raw, sometimes organic foods straight from their respective sources, grinding our own flour and wheat and planting our organic garden, harvesting it several times a year. And although I sort of want a goat on my roof like the lady in the Hormel commercial, I'm pretty certain Ron (or is it Rob?) next door wouldn't approve. (Totally kidding about that last statement.)

Some parents really look forward to introducing their foods to their little one; it's a chance to expand developing taste buds and create the next generation of "foodies." I'm still grappling with the fact that Mia needs more than just Momma's Milk and a few servings of pureed fruits & veggies each day. She nibbled on some quiche I made the other day, has had chunks of cheese, breads/muffins, even some enchilada. Actually, we've found she's really into pulled pork (y'know, the "other white meat").

The question, or rather, questions, are--do we really want her eating the foods we're eating on a regular basis? Are we setting a good foundation for a lifetime of a healthy diet and good nutrition? Will we be teaching her how to eat simply, healthily and enjoyably?

So in our quest to answer these questions I've been doing lots of reading, pulling together anecdotal information I've gathered here and there, and checked out what others do. It's a good way to get a baseline of what's expected vs. what the possibilities are.

Yet I do not have a solid answer. I imagine that as time passes and we gain more experience in the food & health department, our eating habits will evolve and adapt to fit what makes the most sense in our family. I do know that I struggle to maintain the right balance: recognizing that our bodies are temples and we are to treat them as such, but also realizing God never meant for our bodies to be immortal, but instead our souls. I know we're all going to die someday, but I guess I don't want a poor diet to be the reason that Mia struggles with health problems later on in life. We cannot be perfect. We can try, but we will fail. So, I guess I have to remind myself that I will do the best I can with what I have available, and learn perfection is not the goal, but a healthy balance.

And you thought this was going to be some post with a picture of a delicious roast simmering in the oven? Gotcha!

Who knows, maybe next time. I think I might just go steam some produce and make Mia's next batch of homemade baby food. Think she'll like broccoli??

How do you do it? Balance the influx of information about what you should and should not eat with what you realistically can provide? Do you think I'm settling or going overboard?