Sunday, March 29, 2009

Question: Man-ssage

My family went on a fishing trip on Wednesday, and I stayed back with my son and had fun in the sun. Great day!

To make up for missing the fishing trip, my parents sprang for a massage for my sister and I! Ah woo hoo! We got to the spa and filled out all the necessary forms, then we were paired up with our masseuses. I got a woman (the owner) and my sister got a man! This was only her second massage (the first didn't go well) so I was really considering switching with her so she would get a good massage. But I didn't (which was a good thing because the masseuse gave me what seemed to be a deep tissue massage - I nearly threw up at one point ... it was AWESOME) and my sister got what she ended up calling a "man-ssage". She said he did a good job, but when it came time to massage her back with his arm she said it was a little ... hairy.

So what do you think? Massage from a man ... yea or nay?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday in Florida

We are staying on South Seas Plantation in Captiva, Florida. This is our view. Our condo is on a golf course.

Another view from our condo.

We took our son for his FIRST swim in any pool. I took FOREVER to get him ready (sunscreen, hat, rash guard, swim diaper, trunks, sunglasses ... no sun was getting to my beautiful boy's skin if I could help it), but we had a ton of fun. He wasn't his usual self because he's got two teeth coming in, but we still had fun.

And later in the day we took him for a walk and ended up spending some time on a carpet-like patch of grass. It was the first time my son had ever touched grass, and he was endlessly fascinated. The great part: it was short enough that he couldn't break it off and put it in his mouth.

Teeth and Crawling

Yeah, so he started to cut his second tooth yesterday while on the plane ... though he didn't really seem to mind it much.

And he has started to "crawl" forward! I'll try to get a video of it at some point, though I won't be able to post it until we get home.

Yesterday was a big day, to say the least. First airplane ride, trip to Florida, poop on the plane, second tooth, crawling forward, sleeping on the floor, sleeping in the same room as mommy and daddy, warm weather, ... whoa.

The Best Little Traveler Ever

My son did AWESOME on the plane ride yesterday! Ah woo hoo! He played on my lap and even took a couple little naps. He smiled at everyone and didn't cry when the other babies on the plane (and there were A LOT of them) cried. So proud of my little man.

He did, however, poop on the plane ... I did not like changing him in the airplane bathroom. He is too big for the changing table and we hit a little bit of turbulence when we were in there. Plus, it went up his back so I had to ask one of the flight attendants to ask my husband for an extra outfit.

When we got to Florida, we discovered that his pack n' play didn't make it with us, so he got to sleep on the floor last night (with a little padding underneath and a lot of pillows around him as a makeshift pen). The pack came this morning, so hopefully he'll sleep in that tonight.

So far, his favorite thing about Florida is that there are paddle fans in almost every room of the condo. He can't stop staring at them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Laughing With Daddy

In spite of the discomfort of teething, we had another giggle session last night with our boy. Thought you guys might enjoy it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Big Smile

He got his first tooth! He got his first tooth!

(Totally explains why he was so miserable sounding the last few nights before bed.)

Any ideas/suggestions as to how to make him feel a little more comfortable during teething?

Florida or Bust!

Yeah, we're going to Florida on Monday. Ah, woo hoo! My husband, my son, and I are flying down with my parents and sister to Captiva Island, Florida (just off Ft. Myers), and we are sooo looking forward to it. I am bringing my camera and my computer cord (my sister and husband are both bringing their computers so I will have access ... yay!) so I will hopefully be able to post while we are down there.

In the meantime, we are trying to pack up for our first vacation with our little man. There are so many things to think about and bring - car seat, stroller, pack n' play, clothes, hats, blankets, toys, sunscreen, vitamins, etc. Whoa. Not to mention the leap of faith I feel like we are taking checking a bunch of this stuff. If it it was a direct connection I wouldn't worry, but we are going through Detroit and if his car seat gets lost en route we are a little screwed.

*Deep breath, Nicole.*

And then there is the issue of sleeping arrangements. My son will be spending the night in his pack n' play. Whether he sleeps in it or not is another issue. I have been trying to get him to nap in it, but to no avail. Here is how I found him today after his TEN MINUTE nap in his pack.

*Deep breath, Nicole.*

And then there's the flight ... how will my son do with the change in air pressure? The massive amounts of new people? Not getting to play on the floor?

*Deep breath, Nicole.*

I keep having to remind myself that he is an awesome kid and will do just fine. He will be just fine.

In fact, it will be fun. We are going to Florida! He gets to visit his first new state. It'll be his first time at the beach. And it'll be his first time swimming!! I get so excited about all the firsts ... which reminds me - I need to bring more batteries for my camera.

One more thing to add to the list.

Alright, back to packing and the NCAA tournament!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blog Addiction (Pt. 2) and My Beautiful Life

I have added another blog to my Google Reader list. As usual, I found it through the website, but this time it was one of the posts instead of in the comments. For those of you with a similar blog addiction, here it is ...

If you are averse to swearing, don't read it. Serious potty mouth going on here. But it's amazing and truthful and the guy is an AWESOME photographer. I love the way he and his wife are documenting her pregnancy ... and how jealous am I of how GORGEOUS she looks even while pregnant.

Anyhow, check it out. Oh, and their son is adorable! Such a little man.

Life isn't perfect for them and Ryan (the blogger) tells all about it. And in one post he calls out all the people who are putting on a facade and making everything seem perfect. After reading a bunch of his postings, I started feeling bad about the world in its current state and how everything could fall apart in a second.

Then I remembered ... this is why I don't watch the news. It's not that I want to be ignorant and detached from what is going on in the world. I just can't handle all the bad news. My depression makes things crappy enough; add bad news on top of that and I get bogged down. I would rather try to focus on the beautiful things in life and leave the rest as it is. I don't always succeed, but the trying is the important part.

So I have a new blog I love, but I will have to read it one post a day. No more than that. And I'll have to balance it with a lot of looking and playing with my son. And smiling. Because while life isn't perfect, there are certainly elements of beautiful in every day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Craig's Crusaders

As some of you may know, my Uncle Craig passed away last year the day before my son was born. He was diagnosed with late-stage melanoma (skin cancer) in November 2007 and fought so hard against it.

My cousin, his daughter, has started a Relay for Life team in his honor and I am a team member! Craig's Crusaders will be walking in the Eaton Rapids Relay for Life this May and we would love and appreciate all the donations we can get. I know in these difficult times donating is the last thing people feel like they can do (trust me, I feel it too), but cancer seems to be an ever-present reality in people's lives today and I feel like it is so important to raise funds to help eradicate this horrible disease.

Every little bit counts.

Please visit my personal page on the Relay for Life website at ...

I'll be posting more about this later on and will share with you more of who my uncle was.

Until then, have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cobra Pose, Anyone?

Just thought I'd share this picture with you of my husband and son doing a little yoga together.

The little guy needs to work on his form a bit (those legs could be a bit straighter), but very good otherwise.

Mmm ... Monday: Sausage and Tomato Rigatoni

Hello, everyone! (I like saying that ... like tons of people read this. Wishful thinking.) Yup, it's Monday again so time for another installment of Mmm ... Monday.

This recipe comes from the Kraft Food and Family magazine. We had it last night and it is wicked good. Hope you enjoy it!

Sausage and Tomato Rigatoni

4 cups rigatoni pasta (8 oz.) uncooked
1 lb. Italian sausage, cut into chunks
1 medium red onion, sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup Kraft Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package. (Might want to delay this a bit until you have the meat browned.)

Meanwhile, brown sausage in large nonstick skillet; drain. Stir in onions and tomato paste; cover. Cook 15 minutes or until onions are tender and sausage is cooked through (170 degrees F), stirring occasionally. Stir in dressing.

Toss sausage mixture with pasta. Sprinkle with parsley and cheese.

Makes 4 servings, about 2 cups each. (Though we ate all but enough for my husband to take a bit of the leftovers today for a good lunch.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Lovely Afternoon at The Gardens

First, we put sunscreen on ... it made my son's hair a little greasy. To say the least.
The line to get in was really long, but it moved quickly and we got to enjoy the sunshine in the meantime.

Gotta have the hat and sunglasses when out in the sun!
We saw some beautiful butterflies!

And had a wonderful day! Hope you enjoyed your day as well!

Sunday Doings

Today my hubby and I are taking our son to see the butterflies at Frederik Meijer Gardens. This is a beautiful attraction here in our lovely Grand Rapids, and a special spot for the two of us ... it's where we got married! In fact, you can see a picture of OUR wedding on their website! I have to say, it was the best wedding I've ever been to and I am so proud of how it came out.

I digress.

So we're going to see the butterflies exhibit early this afternoon and maybe heading over to Lowe's to look for a new mailbox. The snowplow threw so much snow at our mailbox with such force that it snapped the stupid thing off about three feet up the post. Grrr. So now we have to dig up the old post and put in a new one. And as our mailbox is a bit on the jank side of things, we'll be getting a new one of those, too.

What are you guys doing today?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sleepy Battle Update

Just a quick update from earlier ...

He slept until 10:30 a.m.! Whoa.

My First and Last Shamrock Shake of the Year

I finally got a shamrock shake this year and it will probably be my last until next year. Why, you ask? Well, I have not been drinking much milk because I breastfeed my son and it seems to upset his stomach when I have milk. Lately I have been trying to add milk back in but very slowly so as not to cause any problems.
So Monday afternoon, when the occasion to get a shamrock shake presented itself, I took the selfish route, bought a small, and drank the whole thing in less than fifteen minutes. It was a whole bunch of minty goodness. And I paid for it later.
*Weak stomachs should stop reading here.*
Yesterday, my son was a bit out of sorts. After lunch (barley and peas), he and I played on the floor a bit when all of a sudden he just started sobbing ... totally not like him. So I scooped him up and we sat on the couch for a sec. He started to smile while standing on my legs, then he grabbed my hair, pulled me close, and threw up all over me. I had a pool of barley, milk, and peas in my bellybutton, and (sorry if this is too graphic) the chum would have gone directly in my mouth if I hadn't clamped it shut at the last minute. It was everywhere. But he was feeling better, so I guess I can't complain. And he was patient while I took my second shower of the day to get the smell of partially digested peas off of me.
So no more shamrock shakes for me this year.

Sleepy Battle

Well, I have no idea what to say. The past few days have been frustrating with my son, in terms of his sleeping habits anyways. Yesterday he was out of sorts but took two half hour naps. The three days prior he was in good spirits but took basically NO NAPS, much to my chagrin and in spite of all my efforts.

And then there is last night/today. We put him down at around 11:30 p.m. last night and he is still sleeping now at 8:09 a.m.!! I am not sure what to make of it. And I have no idea what I did right, which stinks because I have no idea if I'll be able to replicate this lovely night of sleep for him.

Also, we're thinking of trying to put him to bed earlier, but previous efforts of this sort have been highly resisted. I have read to try to move bedtime in fifteen minute increments ... has anyone had luck with this?

And does anyone have any suggestions for me on how to get my little guy to nap more? Or is it at all possible that he doesn't need to nap because he sleeps up to 12.5 hours at "night"?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake

Sorry, I meant to put this up last night but my little man was super tired and I needed to get him in bed. Which was a huge ordeal, by the way ... I may post on it later and beg for advice.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this recipe ... I've made it twice and it is super yummy.

Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake
(from Kraft Foods)

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cups multigrain penne pasta, uncooked
1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh spinach leaves
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 jar (14 1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz. (1/4 of 8 oz. pkg.) Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 cup Kraft 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook pasta, adding spinach to boiling water for last 1 min.

Cook and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 3 min. Add sauce and tomatoes; bring to boil. Simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in Neufchatel cheese.

Drain pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spoon into 2 qt. baking dish.

Bake 20 min. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our Little Inch Worm

Yesterday my son turned six months old! Yay! And today he has turned into an inch worm ...

People aren't kidding when they say, "They grow up so fast!"

P.S. That is a Carter's 12 month outfit he is wearing! Whoa.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Baby Boy Laughing

I thought you all might enjoy a little laughter tonight. My husband was trying to measure our son as we are constantly curious as to how tall he is, and our son found the tape measure quite hilarious. Enjoy!

Best Bets: Health and Beauty Aids for Baby

I know, it sounds weird to health and beauty aids (HBA) for your baby, but he's just a small person. And I'm not talking about makeup ... what kind of parent do you think I am?!

Here's my list of favorites that help keep my boy looking and feeling his best.


A must have for any parent, especially in the winter months. I apply it every night to my son's cheeks to help them from getting chapped. All that slobber really does a number on his delicate skin. It's great for when you take the little one outside because it can help protect his skin from the wind. And, on a personal note, Vaseline is helpful when you are dealing with a newly circumsized penis in need of a little attention. Ouch!

Boudreaux's Baby Kisses

Baby chapstick. Again, great for the winter months when baby's skin can get really chapped and irritated. One morning my son woke up with a split lip from the winter dryness, and every night since I have slathered Baby Kisses on his lips ... it has helped immensely!

The First Years Arc Deluxe Nail Clippers

Great ergonomic nail clippers that come with a magnifying glass for clipping those tiny baby nails. Never a fun job, but these make it a little easier. For the really tough ones, or if your newborn still has his/her nails attached to the tips of his/her fingers, I recommend the Safety 1st nail clippers with the nail file attachment - also a good choice.

Arbonne Baby Care (ABC) Herbal Diaper Rash Cream

Awesome stuff! Our son doesn't get many diaper rashes, but when he does this seems to clear it up the quickest. It also has a really nice scent, an added bonus when you have to deal with really poopy diapers.

Method Baby Squeaky Green Body Lotion

It's a wonderful lotion for soothing baby's dry skin. My son loves getting little baby massages with this stuff. I don't know if it comes in different scents, but we have the "rice milk + mallow" scent and it is yummy smelling!

Gentle Naturals Cradle Cap Care

While it smells a little funky, it really does the trick when trying to eliminate pesky cradle cap on your little one. Combined with the use of a good cradle cap brush (more on that later), it took care of our son's cradle cap. Containing a couple different kinds of oils, it is a little easier to handle than just working olive oil into your baby's scalp (though you can do that, too).

Arbonne Baby Care Hair and Body Wash

It smells great and can counteract the over-powering smell of the Cradle Cap Care mentioned above. Also, it is a tear-free formula ... a must for bathtime with baby!

First Years American Red Cross All-In-One Bathing Brush

This handy little brush did a great job on our son's cradle cap. Gentle enough to use on his soft spot, just rubbing the bristle side in circles (in tandem with the Crade Cap Care mentioned above) over his scalp helped eliminate cradle cap within a week or so.

Baby Q-Tips

No worries about sticking it too far into the baby's ear! With all the ear wax our little guy has, these have come in handy. Just a little twirl in his outer ear after bath time and it's clean as a whistle!

I hope these products help you as much as they've helped us! Anything you'd recommend?

Best Bets: Parent Resources

Kids don't come with owners' manuals, much to many parents' chagrin. And every child is different in his/her own beautiful way. But there are resources out there that can help parents figure out how to best parent their child. Some are good, some are bad, and some are definitely ugly, and while no single resource will help EVERY parent, I have decided to compile a list of the ones that have worked best for me.

Jo Frost's Confident Baby Care

Yup, the Super Nanny has written a book. It's slim, it's easy to read, it's broken down into manageable age ranges, and it doesn't make you feel horrible about yourself as a parent. I feel these are all the things a new parent needs. The advice is sound, though not as comprehensive as some larger books, and is focused on loving your child and giving him/her the best head start in life you can.

Parents magazine

I have professed my love of all magazines before, but this one truly is awesome. From raising a nice kid to saving money on groceries to disciplining your child, Parents magazine offers advice for children of all ages. It covers a wide range of topics in a fun, easy-to-read way. Plus, if you read it around your baby, he/she will love looking at the photos of other kids.

I initially signed up for this weekly newsletter when I was pregnant because they would tell me how big my unborn baby was according to fruits and vegetables (e.g., butternut squash) and I thought it was cute. Now, I love getting the weekly newsletter because it addresses issues directly related to my son's age, provides ideas for activities I can do with him that foster development, and gives me a little chuckle at the bottom with their "Don't Forget to Laugh" section. It has been a wealth of knowledge I have been grateful to have as I start to figure out what kind of mom I'm going to be.

So those are my favorites. My go-to list of resources that help me through the days. I hope you find them as helpful as I have. Any of you have any favorites?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Would You Do It?

Yesterday on, Joanna Goddard wrote about a German website called Naked People where you can actually see ... naked people. The people are initially clothed then as you click on them their clothes fade away. And they are totally naked. That said, it isn't pornographic ... it is just a bunch of normal people in the buff. Just standing there. It's a little weird and off-putting at first, but should it be?

I know as Americans we are taught to think of the naked human body as taboo, but should it be? We all have one. And should we be as ashamed of our own bodies as some of us are? The people on this site aren't perfect looking (some are far from it), but there they stand. Seeing them seem so unafraid to be bare in front of the world was slightly empowering.

So here's the question ...

If an artist put a call out to all normal people (i.e., non-celebrities) that (s)he was doing an exhibit like this on the human body ... would you do it? Not sure I would, but it's a thought.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mmm ... Monday: Sloppy Joe Pie

This is probably my favorite recipe from the cookbook my sister got me for Christmas (101 Things to Do With a Casserole). No tweaks needed. Just make it and enjoy.

Sloppy Joe Pie

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (I used a yellow onion)
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomato, with liquid
1 envelope sloppy joe seasoning
1 tube (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent roll dough

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a frying pan, brown beef and onion together until beef is done. Stir crushed tomatoes and seasoning into beef and onion. Simmer over medium-low heat 5 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Place beef mixture into a greased, deep 9-inch pie pan or round baking dish. Lay individually flattened crescents over top, placing the skinny point in the center, stretching the bottom edge of the crescent dough triangle to the outside of the pan. Overlap dough if necessary. Bake 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Sick Mommy ... Bummer

It was bound to happen eventually, but I caught my son's cold. Bummer. Not surprising since the little guy coughed directly into my mouth a couple times the other night and likes to give uber-slobbery kisses. Not that I would ever turn down one of those kisses.

But I digress ... I am feeling a bit punk. It's not horrible, but I definitely don't feel like moving from this spot I have warmed up on the couch. Sadly, there is much to be done around the house and life doesn't stop just because I don't feel great.

In efforts to keep my spirits up, I'll post a picture of something that made me laugh this weekend.

My son was playing on his tummy on the floor on Saturday. I put the Goldfish cracker box and his drum set in front of him to entice him to move forward, but much to his chagrin he could only scoot backwards. And scoot backwards he did ... halfway under his play mat! When he realized what he did, he looked at me and smiled a little. Then he rolled over to his back and hung out there for a bit. What a cutie!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Little Reassurance

Every month I try to go through my magazines, rip out the articles I want to keep, and then recycle the rest. The only magazine I haven't been doing this for is Parents, mostly because I don't know what articles may be pertinent later (they cover a wide age span - from pregnancy to 12 years).

I decided to flip through one of the issues anyhow, just to see if I was able to weed anything out ... I ended up keeping the whole thing. But I did find an article that was actually pretty reassuring to me.

It is in the January 2009 issue and the article is entitled "Your Baby's Personality." It outlines four different personality types often possessed by babies and then tells you what he/she needs from you to thrive. My son would be considered a "mellow baby", so here's what they say about that ...

The Mellow Baby

At the other end of the spectrum are go-with-the-flow infants who are content to entertain themselves. "Elia, my 6-month-old, is almost always in a peaceful mood," says Arizona mom Kristine Dzelza-Hopsone. "She adapts to new things easily, so we can involve her in most everything we do."

What she needs from you: Even if you've got a child who's so chill she could tolerate the most chaotic schedule, it's still important to maintain a routine: All babies need structure to feel secure. No need to be rigid about scheduling, though. Breakfast doesn't always have to be at 7 a.m. on the dot, but it should be in the same time frame, and bedtime should be predictable too. You can be looser about naptime, bathtime, and outings.

Luckily this is pretty much what we already do, so I do feel a bit better about that. Now I just have to figure out how to get him to stop using me as a pacifier in the middle of the night. Any suggestions?