Thursday, February 28, 2013

month four

four months, that means we are only two away from six, which literally blows my mind. it is really the twenty-eighth, not the thirtieth, so i am a little confused on if robin actually turns four months old today or if it is the second or then will that just throw the whole calendar off? either way, here you go...

so much new this month! weight gain has slowed down a little bit but height is still rocketing off the charts - where is this tallness from? i was sure he would be at eighteen pounds by now based off the rate he has been going, but he is sitting cool at almost seventeen this month and twenty-seven inches long. again it was confirmed that our boy will mostly like stay blue and bright eyed, by now we would see flecks if there were going to turn brown but they just keep getting more blue!

we are in the stage of thinking about rolling over, robin puts his head way to the side and then just sort of scoots himself around in circles instead of flipping to the side, like i think is his actual goal. this new motion though makes it possible for him to shimmy around in his crib so that he can get to and suck on the foot of his sleep sheep. this is pretty funny to watch.

he is grabbing for his toys and pulling them into his mouth, it is hilarious watching him ponder the cause and effect of this new milestone he has reached. he is in a convertible carseat now and is so much happier, his poor little shoulders were so squished in his infant seat and that led to a lot of screaming in the car.

he is eyeing up food and even reaches for it from time to time but we are still putting it off for two more months or more. his doctor gave us the ok to start rice but 1. we are skipping rice all together and 2. i feel pretty strongly about waiting and that "food is for fun till after one."

we are on the brink of a tooth, i can see it, and all the extra fussiness these last couple of nights, i am hoping it is about to come through and give him some relief. this is early teething compared to stella but zoë and rowan both sprung some chompers right around now.

we're dealing with some sensitive skin issues that are no fun but don't seem to be bothering robin too much. night time sleep is great! i can lay him down somewhat awake and he puts himself to sleep. i have started letting him self sooth as long as he doesn't do more the fuss a little. any crying and i go in to rock him and sing to him a little more.

naps are still hit or miss, off schedule, and only last thirty to forty-five minutes . i am hoping we grow out of this soon, very soon. we packed the swing away this last week - robin was losing interest and he is so big that it didn't swing great anymore either. now he will happily spend a little more time scooting around on the floor or jumping in his jumparoo.

at the end of this month we are taking a long trip to minnesota so that all of tim's family can meet us finally! i am surprisingly not nervous at all about taking robin on the plane - it is his sisters i am worried about, eek.

even the extra fussiness because of teeth and the wonder weeks we experienced recently, robin is still so mellow and sweet. he laughs all the time both provoked and just because he feels like it (those are my favorite). when i start singing he instantly focuses in on my and smiles or giggles while i go on. twinkle twinkle is his favorite.

i can't believe my sweet as sugar boy is already four months old! but, oh what fun it has been to watch him turn into our little boy - i can't wait to experience the growth of his personality over the next year.

happy four months robin dash!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

what's in my diaper bag?

these days robin is a full grown baby. that means throwing our newborn preparedness list out the door and starting out fresh with a new list of needs, wants, and demands from our little guy. as he grows so does the list of "things" we need to get through the day - i wanted to share some insight on what is literally in our diaper bag from day to day. well, i will spare you listing how sometimes a dirty diaper sits in there for a day or two, yuck!

the bag: i can't rave about the sherpani bag enough! we bought it thinking that it was just another day pack but when i started searching for a photos i found out it is a diaper bag, which makes it even more genius! it is spacious but not bulky, offers many entry points for any thing you can think of, has lined wet/dry pockets, inner dividers, and pockets for bottles/cups. i can easily fit several cloth diaper + anything i need for the day, even if that means a change of clothes for each kid! it is a cross body design so it is very comfortable to wear and when it is done being a diaper bag, i am more then excited to use it as a day pack. and? it is made from all recycled materials! *upon my search it looks like it is impossible to find this bag anywhere. no fear though, there are tons of comparable sherpani bags that offer the same features and awesomeness.

bumgenius elemental cloth diapers: these days we are cloth diapering full time (go us!) and that means being stocked up anywhere we might need a new diaper at moments notice. i have talked about my love for these diapers before and that hasn't changed. i just can't get over how soft and absorbent they are. we have never had a blow out with these.

large changing pad: i love this for two reasons. 1. the tiny ones that come with bags are for the birds, what wiggly baby stays in such a small proximity during a diaper change on a gross restroom table? 2. it is thick and super wipeable so it is great for plopping down on the grass at the park for a picnic.

a wet bag: this is a must whether you cloth diaper or not. during potty training it is great for throwing soiled clothes in or i like to use it after swim lessons for keeping the rest of my diaper bag dry when a swim suit is not. they come in all sizes, down to small snack ones and all are very easily washed.

seventh generation wipes: all of my kiddos seem to suffer in the skin department one way or another. that means i have to be extra concious of what i am putting on it, even wipes. i love the seventh generation brand for everything, even cleaning products, so the wipes are no exception. they are great for butts and faces, what more can you ask for?
a change of clothes: this is a no brainer, but i thought i would mention that even as a growing boy - soft (preferably organic) clothing is my go to. i think this dude has yet to wear any jeans and i am totally ok with that. a little guy getting to know his body and comfort levels doesn't need to be stuffed into tight stiff jeans. i am a major sucker for a good sale on baby gap boy leggings and a soft onesie. it is totally worth it to pay a little more for quality fabric and durability.

lille quib baby bibs: a good bib, a extra, and another one just to be safe is a must. with two teeth taking up residents in rob's mouth, he is wet  all  the  time. these bibs are particularly awesome because they really give you four bibs: they are layered so when one side gets dirty you swap them out and when both of those sides gets dirty you flip the bib over and can use the terry cloth side the same way!

aden + anais blanket: we have at least two of these everywhere we go. right now when it is cold they aren't great as a blanket but boy do they do a great job a burp rag. i also love it for when we are at a playdate, it is such a great size for laying out and letting several babies lay on for comfort and to save the carpet. now, that robin has gotten older too we got him a dream blanket from aden + anais - it is a thicker more "carry around" version of the muslin swaddling blanket.

robeez: ok, i have to laugh at myself a little on this one. until recently i hated the idea of these shoes, i thought they were and looked silly, until i owned some. robin got a pair for christmas and from now until he walks i can't imagine using any other shoe! i went a little nuts buying him minnatonkas on ebay before he was born and he hates them. the process of putting a pair on might as well equate to me pulling his toes off. these are so easy to slip on, they stay on, and they keep his feet toasty. who would have thought?

haba magica rattle: or any fun, wooden, imagination sparking toy suits us great! robin has started reaching out for his toys - he loves seeing the cause and effect of this new skill. everything that he can grab goes straight into his mouth though so it is important that any toy is made with materials that i can trust.

leappad2: ok ok, this one isn't exactly for robin but with all of the appointments that come along with having a baby, or four kids for that matter, it is crucial that we don't leave home with out our leap pads. both girls have one and when i need them to settle down so i can talk to the doctor, the dentist, or whoever - these are perfect for pulling out and entertaining them.

our diaper bag isn't just for robin, i guess it is my purse too (lame!), but it also stores things my bigger girls need throughout the day. i always keep nuts or things like banana chips, applesauce squeezers, and a hidden stash of lollipops (for bribery), in the bag for emergency snacks.

whew, that was a long list but i couldn't imagine leaving the house without all of those things!

do you have any secret weapons to get you through an outing, in your diaper bag? what is your "can not live without" diaper bag item?

*i am a amazon affiliate and the links above are part of that account. all products posted are naturally part of our daily life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

a quick desk make over

i had literally just got done saying to tim that i wanted to find rowan a desk this summer before she goes to kindergarten, when i hopped on facebook, on of my my swap/trade pages, and found the perfect project desk. granted after i got it home i was kicking myself for paying about ten more dollars then i should have - it had some tiny water spots on top and the veneer was scuffed in a few places.

i knew i wanted stripes somewhere and i was glad that other then the top, the desk was in good shape (the drawer needs some tinkering with) so i really just had to focus on the top. these days i barely have time to shower let alone makeover a whole desk so i got to work with a super quick diy.

i taped out my stripes at two inches each since that is how wide my tape was it worked out perfect. then using the cheapest of cheap ikea paint brushes, i lightly painted on one coat. i was thrilled when it came out very bristly looking - i had planned on sanding it to distress it but using this paintbrush gave me the exact look i wanted, score!

after i was done, i decided that in a couple of days when it is totally dry i will re-tape and hit the actual desk, where the white stripes are, with some white paint to help cover up the trouble spots still visible.

so, moral of the story is - don't dismiss a cheap or old worn down piece of furniture. a little paint and sanding here and some stripes there and your dumpster find (mine wasn't from a dumpster but you know what i mean) is a awesome focal piece for a room!

i am now on the hunt for some cute baskets to put on the shelves and a little vintage school chair for her to sit at. i think i am going to do something fun with some mason jars for storing her pencils and crayons.

i think tim is just glad i didn't try and put chevrons or chalk board paint on it, ha!

week sixteen

we're clearly teething.

Monday, February 25, 2013

aden + anais :: review and giveaway!

aden + anais has been one of my favorite brands since i discovered their swaddle blankets when stella was a baby. fast forward to robin joining our family, now we have a little of it all - sheets, bibs, blankets, sleep sacks, and now their new easy swaddle. i just can't get over how all of their products just get better with time. there is just nothing like pulling a soft fluffy aden + anais product out of the dryer!

we love a good tight swaddle in this house and while you can more then achieve that with their great classic muslin blanket, i was over the moon when they came out with the new line of easy swaddles - the design is pure genius! we have been around the block with a few swaddle brands and this one takes the cake for awesomeness. it is smartly designed so that there is no houdini'ing this thing and it is so easy, tim can't even screw it up (i'm kidding honey!).
one thing i am super excited about is that when it comes time to start un-swaddling robin and switching him to one of the sleeping bags, we can start out by just not snapping the "wings" of the easy swaddle and it will still provide a snug and safe sack for him. it has also been super easy to operate with one of robin's arms out from time to time - this easy swaddle does it all! the way it works reminds me a little of the double swaddle technique, which is a favorite of ours.

made from one hundred percent cotton and uses snaps instead of velcro. 

aden + anais is as excited about the new easy swaddle as me, that they want to give one away for you to try out and see for yourself! there are a few super easy ways to enter - check out the rafflecopter below for how you can enter to win a large (fits 14-20lbs and 23"-28") easy swaddle.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*i was compensated an easy swaddle to review but all words and opinions are my own.

Friday, February 22, 2013

hugs, they're free.

working our way down the pinterest list - this is something i have wanted to do forever and i can't wait to keep it up! there can't possibly be anything better that getting a hug in the mail from one of your favorite people, so yesterday we sent out hugs to hopefully put some similes on our friends faces.

this is the easiest craft in existence and cost a total of two postage stamps. we pulled a long piece off our ikea roll of paper and i helped trace the girls in a "hug" position. once that was done it was all them, they did their hair and faces and chose what they were wearing when they gave the hug. zoë helped stella reconstruct her favorite pj's on her hug and stella added a scribble here and there so it was clear exactly who this one was from. they all wrote something about it being a "hug" in case anyone was confused by these colorful, long armed, characters showing up in their mailbox were.

of course these are the only two photos that i remembered to take but you get the idea! with some crazy folding skills i managed to get them into a legal size envelope and while it still wasn't very heavy i added two stamps to make sure it didn't come back to us.

stella's in on its way to georgia to her god parents and zoë and rowan each chose a grandparent this time. there are a million people they want to send these out to but this was a great start - i think i need to stock up at ikea on more rolls of paper!

who would you send a hug to? don't wait, they may just be in need of one!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

week fifteen

no collage of photos this week, because when i sat down to edit them, i realized how reflective they are of this season we are deep in the trenches of. on monday last week was our first day of hour long inconsolable screaming. i hate to even type that out loud because robin is really the easiest going baby, who never cries, so it feels weird to even admit that he did, for an hour. nothing calmed him - me, tim, the bath, the cold air, being alone, a bottle, my breast, his sister, his toys, his swing, anything. i had just gotten a call back from his pediatrician who wanted him seen so i was in the car on my way and he fell asleep. so i turned around and as his eyes started to flicker open fed him a bottle of breast milk right there in our entry way, still in his car seat, eyes still filled with tears. then all was right in the world again.

then it happened again the next night, and the next, and the next. teeth? wonder week? ear infection? not an ear infection, i took him to rule anything like that out after a few nights of this.

after a while, he suddenly had a normal happy night and then the next morning was purposefully reaching out and grabbing/hitting his toys. we had obviously just experienced a mental leap and a big one at that. now more aware of his new senses and abilities he started to calm down a bit

teeth, there is currently a tooth making it's slow appearance on the bottom. the drool is indescribable and lets just say, thank god for sophie. then we noticed robin isn't happy unless i am holding him and he won't let anyone else get him to sleep. while i cherish that he longs for me this way, it is important that he is comfortable with tim rocking him to sleep or consoling him when he needs it.

we also went from a bedtime of eight to six since last monday, all at the request of robin. he still sleeps a long twelve hours of good sleep, so i really can't complain but he is growing for sure and i am sure it is a startling time for his little mind and body to understand. i am positive he is eating more these last couple of weeks too and my milk is having a hard time keeping up - i just got some brewers yeast and am hoping after our fenugreek debacle that this will do the trick.

it hasn't been the worst week on record, just a different one. robin is busy developing his personality and navigating life outside the womb and tim and i are just trying to keep up and learn along side him. i am praying for relief from the teething and extra patience for tim and i when we are at a loss on how to help our son when he seems out of sorts.

my house is a mess, total hoarder status, but helping robin get through this means tim mans the girls and dinner and getting sleep for work and i rock and sway robin around the entire house. i have come to terms with the fact that four kids means i'll never have a clean house again (i kid, sort of).

the bigs are at their dad's all week so there is a little more of me that i can give to him and since stella is the most understanding and loving big sister she will help me out all that she can.

so cheers to weeks of parenting that leave us exhausted but stronger on the other side!

Monday, February 18, 2013

getting the boot

i sit here totally conflicted as robin snoozes away, fifteen feet from me, in his own room. tonight he starts sleeping in his crib. granted i am going to join him in there for a few nights to ease us both into this transition but i wanted to talk, or vent, a little about how we got here, or even why we weren't here sooner.

robin is almost four months old, wait what? all of the girls were in their own cribs by now. since robin was born i have set small monthly goals for us - i would never force a "schedule" on him, but eventually we need to be a working well oiled machine and that means having some normalcy and routine. so, at three months i wanted him to be in his own crib - but then we all got sick and our nighttime routine got all shaken up with a baby wanting to sleep sooner, excuse excuse excuse. 

well, not excuse - the real truth is, for about two or three weeks i fell into a little bout with post-partum anxiety (i won't say depression because anxiety is exactly what it was.) i became suddenly convinced that something was going to happen to him in his sleep and my head would spin circles around that idea all  day  long. we had a angelcare pad so that settled my mind a little and i didn't lose too much sleep, but then right around three months robin got more "mobile" in his cradle and we started getting alarms. you can imagine the crazy ninja maneuver i did to the cradle the first time it went off.

then my nightmares started becoming realities - as it turned out, robin was suffering slightly from some sleep apnea type episodes. it was something that we had noticed early on, but i knew babies just do that, stop breathing (or their breathing gets very shallow) for short periods, then start right back up again. with everything going on with me though, i started to notice it more and more, so we switched from the angel care pad to a snuza - this device is the coolest ever! instead of just monitoring when he stops breathing, it clips onto his diaper and if it detects no movement for ten seconds it vibrates to stimulate him, then if still no movement it alarms. if it has had to vibrate at all in the night when we wake up in the morning there is a warning light flashing. the morning this happened we finally went to the doctor with our concerns.

maybe all of my worrying was for a real reason. realizing this, my mind instantly relaxed a little.

our pediatrician had real concerns based off everything i told her but wanted to try something before we sent him off for numerous sleep studies. she asked me to stop swaddling robin, that would keep him from falling into such a deep sleep, where his breathing was becoming so shallow.

the good news is, all issues ceased immediately once we started un-swaddling one of his arms. i am more calm and relaxed now and we are getting a lot of sleep.

so, that was all a few weeks ago and now he is almost four months old and i am moving him to his crib because tim is waking him up when he gets ready for work. in a perfect world i would keep in my room for longer, but this is best for everyone. his bassinet is still up in my room and will stay that way for awhile so i can pull him into our room whenever it suit any of us. 

it's a real thing to suffer from anxieties or depression after you have a baby and it is totally ok to tell the world about it. i kept it in at first because i was scared but as soon as i started talking about it a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. 

when did your little one start sleeping in their own crib? was it hard for you or a easy transition?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

our two favorite bread machine recipes :: cinnamon rolls and pizza!

1 c. milk
1 large egg (whisk before you add!)
4 tbls. butter or margarine (i always melt mine)
3 and 1/3 c. bread flour
3 tbls. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. active dry yeast

i always add in this order, regardless of what my machine manual says. before i add the yeast, i create a little "volcano" in the dry ingredients almost all the way down to the liquid, and add my yeast into that hole. then program your machine to the dough cycle.

when the cycle is done, place on lightly floured suface and knead for about a minute then let rest for about fifteen minutes. then, roll dough into a rectangle about fifteen x ten inches. Spread 1/4 cup melted butter over dough to edges, then sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg (i actually mix these together ahead of time). roll dough up tightly on long side. press edges to seal and form into a foot long, evenly shaped roll. with a piece of dental floss, cut roll into now inch pieces. place rolls cut side down into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. cover and let rise in warm, draft free place until double in size, about thirty to forty-five minutes.

for the filling:
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

bake in preheated 375 degrees oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes or until golden brown. cool in pan for ten minutes before drizzling with icing.

for the icing:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 and 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

soften cream cheese then add in other ingredients in mixer until well blended. then enjoy!

1 c. flat beer
2 tbls. melted butter
2 tbls. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 and 1/2 c. bread machine flour
2 and 1/4 tsp. yeast

again, add in this order and create a "volcano" in dry ingredients, almost all the way down to the wet ingredients, then add yeast into hole. select dough cycle and press start.

when done, remove dough and roll and press to fit your pizza pan (we love our pampered chef pizza stone for this!) brush lightly with olive oil then let rest, covered, for fifteen minutes.

spread sauce and other desired ingredients, add to preheated oven of 400 degrees and bake till crust is lightly brown and crispy on the outside, about twenty-four minutes.

let me know what you think!

Monday, February 11, 2013

cupid got me...

congrats to emily peck on winning the baby sabye mei tai!

i am super excited about rowan's valentine's day card this year! last year those bug cards were a total hit so we had to make sure and keep up with a fun a different idea. i loved that card i had seen around a few years where it looks like the kiddo is holding a sucker in their hand, but why not take it further?
you have no idea how difficult it is directing a kid, trying to get her to make the right face for this, haha!

we started with half a yard of some fun, sorta valentine's dayish fabric and hung it on the wall with tape, in the room with the highest natural light. then, we just worked on different surprise faces until we had a photo we both loved. i popped it into photoshop and ran florabella's classic color action with a few adjustments. we played with some different text ideas before settling on: 

"cupid got me...
happy valentine's day friend!
xoxo rowan"

using an exacto knife i cut the two slits in good spots that worked with where she was looking and to make it look as "real" as possible. we were totally satisfied with just he sucker in there so we decided to add the paper end to give it more texture and fun.

i just saw that the paper mama did a similar idea with the illusion of a 3-d object as part of the photo, you should check that out! what did you do for cards for your little ones to pass out? i am always looking for new fresh ideas!

i think we are both pretty excited for her to hand these out!

Friday, February 8, 2013

ten minute project :: saving chirstmas cards

ok, i know you have probably seen this all over pinterest, but just in case you haven't, here you go.

this was a super easy and inexpensive project that is already getting tons of use and bringing our family joy. using a hole punch, some ring clips, and chirstmas cards we got this year i created a keepsake way of storing all those beautiful cards we received from our friends and family.

for now it is hanging out in the living room where they kids can look at it anytime. they love to sit and look at it together, taking turns pointing out who everyone is - it is so fun to watch!

i am a total pack rat when it comes to this kind of stuff so i have years and years of christmas cards, cute birthday invites, wedding announcements and more that all got organized into these fun little books.

try it out! i promise you'll love the result!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

on being a boy mom

i have always been nothing but honest on here, so i of course wouldn't stop now...

i love being a boy mom, something i never imagined would happen for me, but it has and i have never felt more in my element. i was meant to have a boy, be a boy mom.

let me stop right there...don't get me wrong, i love being mama to my girls too, our relationships are unparalleled. there is just something about having a son.

i am scared a little when i think about what the teenage years with the girls will be like, especially since i will be repeating that season for about ten years, starting here just in a few. i was a nasty teenager, i guess it is only fitting that i get paid back by the universe. 

it is crazy how much i love my kids but this time around it feels a lot different - a friend and i were talking about this over dinner the other night, she just had her second baby, and we talked about how you love differently, how we are loving differently this time and the next time and so on. my best guess is because as parents, the longer we are at it and the more practice we get, all these crazy feeling and emotions become more recognizable and they aren't so scary, so you can relish in them better and enjoy them for what they are.

my son is the sweetest baby - sometime when we are chatting after a nursing sesh and he is giggling and trying his best baby attempts to touch my face, i really can't think too much about how i love him or i get weird is that? my heart is so full for my family that i feel i need a good pinch - is this real life? this has to be too good to be true.

i can't wait to play cars and pick out action figures. i can't wait to go to football games and break up wrestling matches. haha, it totally understand a boy moms heart now. i jokingly tell robin all the time that i am never letting him go, no woman will ever be good enough for him. there will be one though and i already know it will be hard to let him go then.

i can't wait to see the boy he becomes. the first boy after three sisters has something to be said for it. will he be more nurturing and sensitive? my older sister has four girls and one boy, the youngest, he will help robin out along the way, teach him how to survive all these females.

i love this boy to the moon and back.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

kiddo art turned charm bracelet!

ok, this has to be hands down one of my more favorite projects i have done with the kids. shrinky dinks have all but become a lost form of creativity but we resurrected them the other night. for christmas, zoe got an awesome animal drawing book, illustration school: let's draw cute animals by sachiko umoto, after i saw it mentioned on kelle's instagram feed.

zoe is our budding artist and even rowan can drawn a mean blue giraffe so i was super excited when i stumbled upon this idea for shrinky dink art turned jewelry. i think the one i saw was a necklace but it had instantly dawned on me how cool this idea would look as a charm bracelet for zoë to show off a lot of her art - she even let me and her sisters be represented with a couple of our own pieces.

seriously check out some of her drawings! she only traced the goose and the fox, i wouldn't let her do anymore because i wanted it to be authentic, so she choose those because they were giving her trouble. i did the raccoon and the deer, rowan did a monkey/lion, and stella a little scribble square to finish it off.

our supplies:
frosted shrinky dink brand sheets $7 at hobby lobby (i have seen tons of options on amazon as well)
charm bracelet
pack of small charm rings
colored pencils or markers (do not use crayons!)
fine point sharpie
single hole punch

Monday, February 4, 2013

my little sister's maternity photos v.2

two years ago i got the chance to photograph my little sisters belly when she was pregnant with mckinley pauline. now, she is due any second with baby number three and while we didn't spend as much time taking photos this time around, i made sure to recreate a couple for a fun comparison.

just below is from this pregnancy with a girl due any day:
this was last time when she was pregnant with mckinley who just turned one this last december!