Monday, October 26, 2009

Food allergies

My poor little Atticus has a horrible rash all over his face, neck, ears, and head. It's red and bumpy and I thought it was just baby acne but it's got to be something worse. It looks itchy and he even scratched himself today with his too sharp fingernails that I'm too lazy (and nervous) to cut.

I'm thinking it's a food allergy because he was having tummy troubles the past few weeks (like mucus-y poop and screaming pain one night). I'm cutting out the dairy to see if that helps at all. If that doesn't help, I'll cut out other things that causes this (I've read gluten, eggs, soy, and beans can all spark allergies). Then there is the TED (or total elimination diet), it seems a little extreme for a little rash and a tummy ache every few days because he definitely isn't colicky, so I'll only do this if it gets worse. At the same time, if it makes him never have tummyaches and the rash disappears, it's probably worth it, right? Experience with this anyone? Advice?

For now, let's see if getting rid of the dairy does anything. Luckily it's winter, which means soup. My soups are generally vegan, so I won't have to change too much in my diet.

I'm one lucky wife

Tim=amazing.

He not only is studying so hard this semester to make super good grades, he also is a naturally awesome husband and dad.



He lets me sleep in until noon and keeps the baby with him while he studies.



He does all the dishes, all the time.

He is sensitive to my needs.

He begs me to let him take the baby to class, even when I don't really have anything to do.

He is fully supportive of the cloth diapering, and jumps at the chance to clean out a cloth diaper (not really, but he definitely never complains).

He thinks I'm amazing at being a mom and tells me on a regular basis.

I can understand why little girls LOVE him so. much. They know what to look for in a husband.



(seriously... they love him. These are the granddaughters of the missionary couple that took care of us in DC. They were all about the Tim at our reunion on Sunday. It was adorable)

NaNoWriMo

I've participated in National Novel Writing Month twice in the last 5 years. Here's the wiki and the official page. Basically it's trying to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I've got my homework under control so I am going to try it again. It's my secret ambition to become a writer but I am out of the habit of consistently writing so I think this will be a good chance to get back in the groove.

I'm writing this here so you'll support me in my efforts, but more to see if anyone wants to give me any ideas and even give anyone who wants to the chance to be a character in my book. I don't plan on this being a serious attempt but rather a good exercise, so anything you suggest to me will almost certainly be in there unless it is morally objectionable (I'm looking at you Gordon). I also promise not to make fun of any actual person or put them into morally objectionable situations. So let me know i you want to be in my book and what you would like to be or do. Trust me, this is not an opportunity to be missed. A disclaimer: there is a very real possibility that this book will not be written if I find that I do not have time for it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

All about the diapers

For those (like Lauren) who are curious and/or would like to try out our diapering system, this is what works for us:

Pre-folds: Unbleached Indian cotton. You can buy seconds to save money. (about $12 a dozen, depending on size). You'd want about 2-3 dozen, depending on how often you want to wash.

Covers: I really love my Thirsties covers. They have a new Duo Wrap that comes in two sizes instead of four so you only need to buy twice. Another great option that I personally love are wool covers. They are waterproof, breathable, and so dang cute! Try Woolly Bottoms for some cute recycled wool covers. Or make your own. You need probably 4 covers, we did fine with only one for a few weeks.

Snappi: To secure the diaper. You only need one or two.

Wet bag: We have a Bummis tote that lines our diaper pail. The diaper pail is a little bit of an investment, but the diapers NEVER smell up our tiny apartment and it doesn't even smell on the inside. Even if I leave them in there for a few days before I wash. The carbon filter really does work. The Bummis liner is not as impressive. I'd buy a different liner that's cheaper and can be washed with your diapers. You also need a small wet bag for your diaper bag. I like the Gro Baby one.

Doublers: If you have an older baby, you might want some doublers. The ones with fleece are nice because they keep your baby dry.

Wipes: We bought fancy bamboo wipes, but they work the same as the Gerber baby washcloths you can get for super cheap at any store. Buy a few dozen and just wet them and store them in a wipes warmer.

Detergent: We use Allen's.

Diaper sprayer: We don't have one, but I bet they are nice!


We also have a few BG diapers and Happy Heinys, and they are still a little big on him but we use them every so often when we run out of pre-folds. They are just a more expensive option and we tried to go as cheap as possible.

Every baby needs a grammy....

... to buy him things his parents won't.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New outlook

Sofia recently posted about her new outlook on vegetarianism: sparitarianism, as she called it. It means that she has a perception on what's right when it comes to eating meat, but to avoid offense she will adapt to what's going on around her (ie, other people are eating meat). Tim and I have been practicing this for a while now, as opposed to my previous life as a hardcore vegetarian who liked to flaunt my ways.

I used to be pretty black and white about parenting things. I wanted to be an attachment parent. I was going to EXCLUSIVELY breastfeed, co-sleep until Atticus was old enough to want out, baby-wear and refuse the stroller. I did not want a bucket baby, I was not going to use disposable diapers, I was not going to buy unnecessary baby items.

Then.... I had a baby. And I realized that sometimes, Atticus needs to hang out with his dad and sometimes that means he's going to need a bottle (of breast milk, of course). And sometimes? A stroller is kind of nice for when I'm sitting in class and can't hold him the whole time. And sometimes, a baby swing will lull my baby to sleep instead of me rocking him and that's ok too. And a pacifier doesn't always cause nipple confusion contrary to the scare tactics of the hospital lactation consultants. And at night when I'm really tired, the last thing I want to do is spend the extra minute to dunk a cloth diaper.

So, we're adapting our philosophies based on our experiences. There are those dogmatic attachment parenters that I thought I wanted to be like... but you know what? I'm perfectly happy finding what works for us even if I do things I never said I would do (like the time I was in the SWKT basement and Atticus was screaming and the last thing I wanted to do was whip out my breast but he was hungry and my paper was due in five minutes and I just needed to print it and I had the rest of a bottle that Tim had given him and I fed it to him instead of breastfeeding him-- the HORROR!). And I think our baby will turn out juuuuuust fine.

I will no longer judge the women in church that hide away to the mothers' lounge to breastfeed (those things are cushy!) I will not judge the woman giving her baby a bottle. I will not judge the woman who lugs in that heavy carseat for her baby in sacrament meeting. I will not judge parents that let their kids cry it out (though that's one I don't think we'll ever do!) You parents... just do your thing. This mom is not judging you.

In which I pore out my soul to my readers

I was a pretty rotten teenager. Self-centered, rebellious, and an altogether brat. I try not to think about it too much because of how much I regret my life choices then, but I was lying in bed just now and there is a lot on my mind. I think mostly because my little sister is a pretty rotten teenager now, and she reminds me a lot of me at that age. And it makes me really, really sad for her because I know how lonely my life was then and I imagine that is how she feels too.

I've moved past all of that blatant rebellion, obviously (though I still have a hard time being obedient all the time). I made it to BYU, I didn't get kicked out though have been quite close on occasion, I somehow made it to the temple, I developed a relationship with my Savior. I completely changed my lifestyle from one of selfish materialism to striving for unselfish communalism, if there is such a thing. I've rejected much of my previously-held ideologies and even political philosophies. In the past few years and especially since I married Tim, I'm finally comfortable with myself and really love who I am. I love my friends, I love my family, I especially love these two handsome guys sleeping on the couch next to where I'm sitting, I love my life completely. I'm trying to embrace my faults and my strengths; I'm working on being the kind of mom a kid would want to have. I'm trying really hard to love everyone, to not hold grudges, and to see everyone the way the Savior does.

But in spite of this, I feel like I have not properly made amends for my misdeeds in the past. I don't know how to say a lot of this and don't know how reach all of these people to apologize. How does one even begin to apologize for things so far in the past that most have forgotten?

My first ever sewing project

Tim wanted to blog about this and brag about my newfound abilities, but he was taking too long and I wanted to share this with everyone!

Now that I'm a mom, I've decided to learn how to do mommy-type things. One of these recent endeavors is learning how to sew. Our ward has sewing night, complete with sewing machines purchased by the stake for the Relief Societies. I never thought this would be something I would even go to, but with a cool project like wool diaper covers, of course!

So... I started these at sewing night, and finished them at Melissa's.




Before I began my research into cloth diapering, I had no idea the endless possibilities. I purchased some pocket diapers and figured those were the ones for me. I never knew how much I would LOVE pre-folds. They seem so old school, but they are the cheapest option (except for flats, which seem way too complicated to put on... but I guess I shouldn't knock it until I try it!) and they are so easy to take care of. Rinse in the toilet, throw in the washer, throw in the dryer. When you get into the fancy fabrics of pockets, there is stripping involved sometimes and I hang them out to dry so they'll last, and at about $17 a pop you definitely have to spend a small fortune to build up your stash in order to exclusively cloth diaper. Pre-folds run between $15-30 a dozen, depending on the quality and if you can find a good deal (you can find a great deal on seconds, here). Buy a couple dozen, a few covers, and voila! You're a cloth-diapering mama and will save thousands of dollars and keep all that waste (literally) out of landfills.

Covers for cloth diapers can be a little pricey, running about $12 for each. The nice thing about pre-folds and covers is that each diaper change, you usually can just use another pre-fold and the cover stays relatively clean so you can use it over and over again until you do the wash. I have two Thirsties covers right now, and that seems pretty adequate for my needs. I handwash them every so often and if they get poopy I throw them in the washing machine with the rest of the diapers.

Since I discovered that wool diaper covers are waterproof and can be worn over the pre-folds, I've been coveting them. Like these. And these. And these. But, wool diaper covers can be pricey! If you buy from a company, they run about $20-$100. From Etsy, they are a little cheaper but still at least $10. So when Melissa discovered how to make them out of DI sweaters, I was sold.

I went to DI and found three sweaters at $3 each. Then, I sewed them. Myself! With help from Melissa. And it was a success! And they are so darn cute on Atticus! They are waterproof, warm, and breathable. I'm sold on wool diaper covers. We are officially using about the crunchiest form of cloth diapering imaginable.

Anyone want to buy my BGs from me?



*If you'd like to make your own, you can find patterns here and here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Baby's first hike

Saturday was probably one of the most beautiful days of the year. We took advantage of the last few lovely days of the year by going on a gorgeous hike in Provo Canyon with Casey and Annabelle. Theodore loved it, which he expressed by sleeping the entire time, nursing for a little while sitting up against a tree, and then falling back asleep for the remainder.

Lucky we were hiking next to a little spring the entire time. When we changed his cloth diaper, we just rinsed it out in the water. It felt very nature-y.








Crying and generous friends



Recently, Atticus discovered his voice. Meaning, he learned how to cry. It's not quite the colic level, but at night he wants to be constantly held and rocked. We ordered a swing, but it won't be here until next week so Celia was nice enough to let us borrow Eliza's. And oh boy, he has LOVED it. And so do we!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Every woman needs a baby... and a husband... and a mom

My baby is awesome. I love having him around and can't imagine life without him. For a while after I got pregnant I was really bummed because we didn't really get time to just be married, we will pretty much always just be parents. But you know what? Now that we actually are parents, that doesn't seem so bad. Tim is wonderful and I love him more than ever. There is something so cool about waking up and your husband has already been up for four hours taking care of the little guy and they are just chilling reading some classic novel or Arabic text or the scriptures. Because you remember how fantastic your husband is, every day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time for your close-up














Letters from Tim


Dear Weather,

Thanks for staying nice. I'm not ready for the cold. I need to get in running shape enough to feel obligated to continue running even in the snow. For a while there you had me worried. But you got it just right.

Dear James,

Thanks for talking to me at the Radical Liberal Deportation Party. You are quite smart. Thanks for showing me that it is not necessary to have a real house in order to have an educated world outlook.




Dear Person driving away from the duck pond,

I am pretty sure I wasn't the only one who heard very loud and realistic duck sounds. If you stole a duck, you make me very mad. Bring he/she back! If you ran over a duck and was dragging it along beneath your car while it quacked, you make me very sad. If a duck flew onto the top of your car and was freaking out because he was too scared to fly away while you drove, you make me laugh. Any way you cut it, you inspire deep emotions in me.

Dear Study Desk,

Thanks for being my new home within a home. You are very peaceful and calming. You also look good with a clock. Sorry if I force my religious views upon you.




Sincerely,

Tim

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Update

The MPP program at BYU accepts applications until March 1. Which means I can take the GRE in February and make the deadline.

Awesome.

Bathtime, baby

Atticus is spitting up now. Like once a day, but now it means more baths because he smells rank.

Bathtime, baby



Atticus is spitting up now. Like once a day, but now it means more baths because he smells rank.

Lucky we have the handy bathtub courtesy of Grandma Betsey.

The Atticus Ad

Last year during campaign season, moveon.org made a commercial in response to a comment made by John McCain that he would do anything it took to win the war in Iraq, including keeping our troops there for 100 years.

Tim and I were just sitting on the couch yesterday and for some reason this ad came into my mind. And I couldn't help but think, what about Atticus?

In my Political Science 472 class, we reconceptualize war and international relations from a maternal perspective. We say that women know the cost of human life, having sometimes gone to the brink of death to bring forth new life. As mothers, we know the cost of every fingernail, every hair on that tiny little body nestled up to ours. Every moment spent puking up my food, all the heartburn, the aches and pains, the pushing for two hours... that brought this little guy into the world.

After you give birth, your body always retains living cells that were once part of your baby. They circulate in your bloodstream. A part of Atticus will always be a part of me. All women experience this phenomenon. And as a result, we take more into consideration when it comes to waging a war that destroys human life.

I've been pretty anti-war for a while now. I think war is justified in very few circumstances. But having a baby boy and thinking about him being shot at or having his body (that same body that nestles so perfectly against my chest at the moment) ripped apart by a bomb... I can't help but despise war. It's not a political decision for me anymore. It's a mother's perspective. To me, it is so senseless to birth these beautiful boys and let them grow up and blow each other to bits. For what? Politics and pride. Skewed ideas about religion. Hate. Pure, unadulterated hate of another people.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Future plans

We thought about buying a cloth diapering business from KSL, but then it sold before we called.

Oh well.

I thought I was going to grad school next year, but then I missed the deadline for the GRE.

Oh well.

Looks like stay-at-home mommyhood is in my imminent future.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One Month

One month report and blessing up at the other blog. I think we've invited everyone that has asked, so if you did not get an invite and requested one, I probably put your e-mail in wrong. If you haven't got one yet and would like one, leave your e-mail in the comments.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Month

Atticus hit the one month mark today. I read all the other mommy blogs that are like "Oh my gosh, my baby isn't a baby and it goes so fast and I can't believe it's been blah blah blah months" and I thought I will SAVOR this while I can. But oh my gosh, it seriously DOES go by so. freaking. fast. It doesn't help that my baby is growing like a weed and isn't a tiny precious newborn anymore.

At one month, Atticus likes:

* Breastfeeding. He devours my nipples when he's hungry. The kid is ravenous.
* His pacifier. He can go to town on that thing.
* Being swaddled. But only when he's really tired.
* Bouncing on the birthing ball with dad.
* Laying on his Boppy. It may be kind of flattened and old and $3, but it works.
* Stretching. He is an awesome stretcher.
* Being held and snuggled. Especially by his mommy.
* Sleeping on his tummy (bad, bad mom I know).
* Burping and farting and pooping. Sweet relief.
* Hanging out in the Moby wrap.
* His Grammy.
* The Innocence Mission.


Atticus dislikes:

* Being cold.
* When I spray the cold diaper wiping solution on his bum.
* Diaper changes, especially when it's cold.
* Waiting five seconds to be fed when he's hungry.
* When Daddy attacks him with kisses. Or squeezes him so hard he can't breathe.
* Being ignored when I'm trying to do homework.


Luckily his likes exceed his dislikes, and the dislikes are rather understandable. We have one sweet and laid-back little baby.

Open letters

Dear Elder Holland,

Thank you for not aiming your righteous anger at me, but at everyone else. Also, thanks for helping me to realize that my testimony of the Book of Mormon wouldn't even provide a filling meal if your testimony devoured it.

Dear Elder Bednar,

Thank you for making what could have been a formulaic talk about the importance of the family meaningful and deep. And thanks for actually trying to correct common practices in the church, like scoring points from pulpit.

Dear architect of the McKay building,

That first step outside of the doors to the building is completely unnecesary. And marking it with a black line isn't going to stop me from hurting my ankle each time I forget to step down.

Dear couple that sits in the front row in Doctrine and Covenants class,

You are absolutely disgusting. Your constant pawing and fawning over each other is more pornographic than if you were both sitting there naked. You're killing the Spirit. It is not cute that you are constantly trying your best to meld your two bodies into one only seperated by the armrest. If you can only keep yourself an inch from breaking the law of chastity in a religion class before you are even engaged, no one is going to buy it when you say you are worthy to go to the temple.

Dear female member of the aforementioned couple,

I'm not the only one in class that thinks you sprained your wrist while engaging in inappropriate activities.

Sincerely,
Tim Browning

Sunday, October 4, 2009

First BYU football game

Went much better than expected. He spent most of his time in the Moby wrap, we nursed in the stands when he got hungry (but then discovered a heated mother's lounge in one of the bathrooms complete with cushy rocking chair...), and we had a good time as mum and babe. Atticus liked hanging out with Grammy and Poppy, that's for sure.

I did, however, remember:

1. I don't particularly care for football
2. ... or football fans
3. ... especially those of the BYU persuasion.

First football game=last football game. For now, at least.




First BYU football game

Went much better than expected. He spent most of his time in the Moby wrap, we nursed in the stands when he got hungry (but then discovered a heated mother's lounge in one of the bathrooms complete with cushy rocking chair...), and we had a good time as mum and babe.

I did, however, remember:

1. I hate football.
2. I hate football fans.
3. I especially hate BYU football fans.

First football game=last football game.

At the moment....

My husband is rocking my baby and reading Anna Karenina to him.

My life is wonderful.

Atticus is blessed

Yesterday, we went over to our bishop's house and Tim (and our dads, my brother, Tim's grandpa, and the bishop) blessed Atticus. For those who are unfamiliar with LDS tradition, a baby blessing is kind of like a baptism for a new baby, it's typically performed during regular church meetings but Tim didn't want it to be so public so we decided to just do it at our bishop's house (Tim really wanted to do it at a park in the mountains, but the plan fell through). During a blessing, the baby is given their name for the church records among other things. Tim did an amazing job. He really is a great guy.



Yes, he's wearing a dress. My mom made us do it.



Four generations.


I love this babe.


Tim's family

My family

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Adventures in co-sleeping



Who wouldn't want to wake up and roll over to this?

I really can understand why people don't co-sleep with their babies. The first few nights were a tad tenuous. He just seemed so fragile and I was nervous he would suffocate or Tim would roll onto him or something. I barely slept. A pack-and-play was tempting. After getting used to having this new little creature in our bed though, it's so, so wonderful and easy and I love it. He just goes to bed with us, he wakes up and doesn't even need to cry because I hear his little whimpers and roll right over and nurse him. We do the laying down nursing thing sometimes, but usually I fall asleep and he's not so good at re-latching on once he's off so I usually sit up and nurse him, change his diaper right there in the bed, swaddle him, and he's off to dreamland again. He's sleeping a good 3-4 hours at a time usually and our whole routine doesn't take too long. We've kept our bed on the floor (no bed frame) so I keep the diapers, wipes, burp cloths, etc. as well as a lamp to turn on right beside me for easy access. If I didn't have to get up to rinse out the cloth diapers I really would not need to leave my bed at night. I don't know how long we'll keep him in bed with us, probably until it ruins our sex life or he's sleeping through the night and we can transition him into his own bed either in our room or the one next to ours. Either way, for now, we are enjoying it.

Conclusions: Co-sleeping, I'm a fan.




And yes, my baby is chowing down on a pacifier. I never thought we would do it, but my mom bought them, shoved it in his mouth when I wasn't looking, and he loves it. He's still a breastfeeding champion, so I'm not complaining TOO much.

Adventures in cloth diapering

I knew I would love cloth diapering, but I didn't know just how awesome it would really be. Seriously, I was a bit skeptical about the whole pre-folds and cover thing, but I've found I like those the most, and I might end up selling the BGs I have and going for the pre-folds and covers. They are so easy, so economical, so comfy, and so cute.

Check out our little bird in these diapers (we've been letting him go without the covers because he had a wicked diaper rash caused by my antibiotics):




We have been using unbleached Indian cotton pre-folds, held together with a Snappi, and covered with a Thirsties. Before he fit in the XS Thirsties cover, the first two weeks we used Green Mountain diapers newborn size pre-folds with a Bummis Super Brite cover. And no leaks! No noxious smells! We just take it off, rinse it in the toilet or sink if it's not too poopy, throw it in the diaper pail, and a few days later toss it in the wash. It's really THAT easy. Even at night it's not too much of a hassle. We haven't yet cloth diapered when we're out and about so we have a stash of disposables for that purpose (and a shout-out to 7th Generation disposables... they fit PERFECT and hold his mess in better than Pampers Swaddlers which have leaked on us).

I never thought I would love changing diapers this much. But really... it's fun. You should try it. I can't wait until he's a little pudgier so we can try out the BG and the Happy Heinys. He wore the Happy Heinys once when I ran out of pre-folds, but they are still a little big and bulky. And I just love the pre-folds so much!