Looking ahead

Bird Watching with Dad
Bird watching with Dad

As I get older, I’m coming to peace with the fact that my ambitions and energies seem to come in cycles. Sometimes I feel like an open book with an insatiable appetite for information and interaction, and other times… I just want to shut out the world and turn my focus to my immediate surroundings and my innermost thoughts.

Which is to say, blogging doesn’t feel like a priority right now. This has been a great outlet for expressing my feelings and marking milestones on my journey through the first year of motherhood, and it will, I expect, feel like that again in the future. Right now, though, I’m going to ease off the pressure (purely self-inflicted, I don’t pretend to think I have a rabid fan base that will sink into despair without regular updates) to post consistently and just let this place be unless the inspiration strikes me. I haven’t had much time for self care lately, and while blogging has often felt like self care, it isn’t lately, so I’m going to give myself a break.

The Baby will turn one year old in just a few weeks. Here, in no particular order, is a list of thoughts on the current state of affairs in our house and that impending occasion:

  1. The Baby is walking, and has been for a few weeks. Each day he grows more steady on his feet. Yesterday, he took a stumbling run.
  2. The days of cosleeping are over. We moved his crib into his room, and with the help of a comfortable rocking chair we should have bought months ago, we’ve been helping him get accustomed to this new routine. I could have probably continued some form of cosleeping, but The Baby clearly sleeps better on his own now. I have mixed feelings of relief and sadness, but mostly I feel tired.
  3. Teething continues. So tired.
  4. Try as I might, we’re just not good at stopping to savor the “firsts” like I thought we would. Baby’s first Thanksgiving was nice (he loves eating), but it’s not like I could really sit there and marvel. Mostly I just chased him around in a crowded, non-baby proofed house and spent 300 hours frantically cooking. (We attended The Husband’s family’s Thanksgiving on Thursday and hosted Franksgiving, a.k.a Friday Thanksgiving, at our house the day after.)
  5. The Baby has started hugging–his stuffed animals, the cats, and of course, his favorite people. Getting an exuberant hug from a baby is about as good as it gets.
  6. This weekend, we’re off to get a Christmas tree. I’ve been researching how to babyproof a tree for awhile but I feel like we have an exceptionally skilled baby when it comes to the eating, knocking over and destroying of things he shouldn’t touch. I’m looking forward to his first Christmas (and birthday!) but trying to temper my expectations with the realities of caring for a one-year-old.
  7. Still breastfeeding; learned I can eat an entire pumpkin pie all by myself (not in one sitting, but still.)

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll be back once I’ve recalibrated a bit. In the meantime, hang in there and happy holidays.

Looking ahead

Baby steps…

A quick update on life at TLMB house:

The Baby

walking
mid-step

The Baby is officially walking. Not all the time, because he has a few months of experience with crawling and can get to the cat food or the toilet way quicker on four legs, but he can now push himself to standing unaided and toddle several steps. I am so proud, and so delighted, and so terrified. Time really moves at a strange pace once you have children.

The Political Awakening

Speaking of baby steps, my progress on the Progressive Moms Project is moving along, and I have only cried two  more times over the election since my last post. (Honestly, though, having something to do other than wallow feels really good.)

I’ve gotten lots of good suggestions and have been brainstorming a list into fruition. I’m leaning toward choosing a topic each month to educate myself on and focus most of my actions around. I hope to publish the list, at least one that covers the next 6-12 months, this week.

While the list comes together, I thought I’d share just a few posts from other moms and bloggers in the wake of the election that resonated with me:

The Birthday

The Baby turns one on December 25th! (Unbelievable!) We are planning a birthday open house smack dab between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which we’re also hosting (because I was hoping to end the year with a stress-induced ulcer). I’ve trawled Pinterest for ideas, naturally. Because I love puns, I settled on a Winter Onederland theme with lots birch bark and cardinals as the primary aesthetic, to match our woodsy surroundings. Here’s a snapshot of the invitation I designed:

Winter Onederland invitation

Bonus book recommendation: I haven’t had time to read much, and it’s long past “summer reading“, but I just finished reading Station Eleven (to the detriment of laundry during yesterday’s nap) and I highly recommend it. Why do I find post-apocalyptic literature comforting right now? I don’t know, but I do!

Baby steps…

How to have a successful photoshoot with an energetic, persistent baby

I have no idea.

Happy Halloween , everyone!

I’m still buried in work and coming out of an especially rough month of colds, teething and general gloom, so that’s it for now. If The Baby cooperates for this nap I’m currently attempting, there’s a whiskey and cider with my name on it. I’ll be toasting to–Please, God–an easier, happier November. #motherhoodishard

How to have a successful photoshoot with an energetic, persistent baby

Revisiting cloth diapers

 

71ifjoaxo9l-_sx522_
Image via Amazon

A few weeks after The Baby was born, The Husband and I tentatively got out the stash of cloth diapers we had accumulated leading up to baby’s arrival. We were hoping to save some money and reduce the environmental impact of our family,  and, if I’m being honest, prove wrong the people in our family who told us we’d get sick of it and give up, as they had.

When we finally braved the transition at around four weeks, I realized it really wasn’t a big deal. There was already a mountain of laundry, so it didn’t feel like much of an extra burden (although our second-hand all-in-ones that made up the most of our collection took forever to dry). It felt really good to not have to run to the store when we were out of diapers. We stuck with disposables for nighttime, and I expected smooth sailing at least until The Baby was no longer exclusively breastfed.

The Baby, however, had other thoughts on the matter.

He hated having a wet cloth diaper, so much so that it would rouse him from each and every nap during the day.

Finally, after about two months of trying to power through it, in the midst of our big, overwhelming move, I conceded. We started using only disposable diapers, and I sadly packed away the cloth diaper stash in hopes our next baby might be more amicable to them. While the rational side of me knows that The Baby’s comfort, and above all, SLEEP, are more important than my proving a point, I am also really stubborn and didn’t want to hear, “I told you so,” from the people who had told us so.

Nobody really did that, but I still felt a little sour about having to give up this thing I had been pretty sanctimonious about.

About a month ago, The Baby and I were visiting the library when I saw another baby, a little older than him, crawling around with a big fluffy butt–obviously cloth diapered. I had honestly forgotten about them. A few days later, running low on diapers and not particularly wanting to go buy more, I unearthed our stash and decided to get back on the proverbial cloth diaper horse.

It worked! The Baby sleeps soundly through a wet diaper (though we’re still disposable at night, I’m not crazy!) and we’re back to saving a million dollars a month on diapers and not throwing away so much.

To be clear, I totally get that cloth diapers aren’t for everyone. I was one of those people for most of The Baby’s life. The further into parenting I get, the more I realize I really like the path of least resistance… for me, that’s eliminating a Target trip here and there to buy diapers.

I’m so glad I decided to try again. It’s probably a good lesson for parenting in general–I’m not going to get to decide how everything goes, and I have to be flexible; but also, just because something doesn’t work during one stage of our lives doesn’t mean it’s off the table forever.

In case you’re wondering… here’s my gear list:

My cloth diaper stash

Diapers:

11 Bumgenius all-in-ones (bought secondhand on Craigslist for ~$100)

2 Motherease fitted diapers

2 Econobum covers plus 6 prefolds (Honestly, these work great and are very cost effective, but I can hardly get The Baby to hold still long enough to get them on)

I also use these liners now that The Baby is pooping more than just breastmilk (I’m thinking about getting the hose thing that attaches to the toilet, but for now, these have been working pretty well.)

Wipes:

Two dozen Bumkins flannel wipes

For wipes solution, I use these great Baby Bum Drops by Knickernappies

Holding dirty diapers:

1 Planet Wise large wet bag and small wet bag for taking wipes to-go

1 Kanga Care pail liner (suspended from the door, rather than using a pail, because my baby is essentially Godzilla in his room)

Laundry:

Charlie’s Soap for the diapers – I haven’t had much issue with staining; actually, we started using this soap for all our laundry and I’m really happy with it. You only need like a tablespoon for a whole load! I wash in hot/warm and run everything through a presoak and extra rinse cycle

I also dry everything with wool dryer balls (except the pail liner, which hangs dry). As I mentioned, the downside of the all-in-ones is they take 300 years to dry, but when the weather is nice I’ve been hanging them out to dry either straight from the washer or after an hour in the dryer to finish them off. There’s something so nice about seeing your laundry swaying in the breeze, and the sun also helps with staining.

I wash whatever is in the wet bag at least every other day, or when we start to run low on the all-in-ones. Now that The Baby is almost 10 months old, we’re going through probably six cloth diapers and one disposable a day (which feels like nothing compared to those early days!)

Now here are a few questions I have for you:

  • Do you use cloth diapers? Any tips and tricks or favorite products?
  • What’s something you had your heart set on for parenthood that didn’t work out the way you hoped?

 

Revisiting cloth diapers

It’s 4 a.m.

It’s 4 a.m. on the Sunday morning of a long weekend.

I am sitting on the couch with a baby breathing noisily on my chest.

He is still battling through his first cold, the cold that descended on us last weekend, but didn’t really bloom until Friday. This weekend has been a steady rotation of fever fighting, Nose Frida’ing gallons of snot, steaming up the bathroom, and cleaning Tylenol and mucus barf off both of us every time we try to medicate him of feed him.

Ugh. This sucks. I’m exhausted and probably stink of baby barf. Even though I’m complaining, more than anything I just feel bad for my baby. I hope he starts feeling better soon.

And if I could catch a nap at some point, I’d take that, too.

It’s 4 a.m.

A beast of a week (and it’s only Wednesday)

The Baby caught his inaugural daycare cold, so the momentum I picked up last week fizzled out pretty spectacularly. Fortunately, his cold never evolved into anything worse than a whole lot of snot, so he’s going back tomorrow for a big chunk of time while I catch up on things. I managed to check a big job off my list this evening after putting him to bed early (because he took one. 30. minute. nap. today. you. guys.) so as a reward to myself, I’m blogging. (Also I had a beer. I earned it.)

The animal kingdom has played a fairly big role in this week’s chaos, on top of The Baby’s cold. On Monday, my brother and mom brought their dogs over to run around since our side of the property is less wooded than theirs.

We recently started letting our two cats outside during the day. Yes, I know this shortens their lifespans. Yes, I know cats spend most of their waking hours murdering for fun. But their yowling was yet another thing keeping The Baby awake, meaning their indoor life expectancy was already rapidly declining, and they wear bell collars to keep them from sneaking up on birds (so far pretty effective.)

I digress.

family-photo
Charlie is the confused one in the lower corner of the photo. This is always his face.

I knew one of the cats, Charlie, was still outside when the neighbor dogs arrived, and that the dogs sometimes like to chase the cats, but I hadn’t been able to find him to coax him inside and figured he was fully capable of making himself scarce if he didn’t want to be chased.

But he did want to be chased, so he went full Halloween cat and taunted one of the dogs until he took the bait. Then he chased that 15-pound furry meatball about 20 feet up a tree, where Charlie clung pitifully by his armpits to a branch and yowled.

Shit.

I handed The Baby over to my mom. My brother steadied an extension ladder while I tried to coax Charlie, just out of my reach, down from the tree. He calmed down while I was up there, but not enough to try to climb head first down at me.

Realizing I could just about reach him, but didn’t have the number of hands necessary to keep me from falling out of the tree if I were to grab him, I climbed back down, retrieved my Boba soft structured carrier, and climbed back up.

We both returned to earth completely unscathed.

And I had a beer, because I earned it.

charlie-cat-rescue
Ugh, of course this happened.

In other news, the saga of my unwillingness to sleep train my baby and, in response, his unwillingness to sleep, continues. Today’s second failed nap had me ugly crying on my bed with my head in my hands. The Baby thought I was playing a funny game and giggled hysterically, which made me quit crying and then want to start crying again because I’m such an asshole for getting so mad at my sweet, sweet boy.

Parenting is so hard sometimes, you guys.

(Coincidentally, my tale of cat rescue lines up with today’s WordPress daily prompt… Yay! via Daily Prompt: Tree)

A beast of a week (and it’s only Wednesday)

Weekend warrior and half a year…

It’s been a busy week at the TLMB compound, and the only time I’m finding to blog is while rocking a napping, teething baby, so forgive the stream of consciousness/lack of a clear thesis to this post. In no particular order, some updates:

The Baby turned six months old on Saturday!

He is *eating solids. He is scooting across the floor toward anything (cords, table legs, dog toys) he thinks he might be able to put his mouth on. He is picking up the main concept behind playing peekaboo. He has endured another round of shots and he has cut two teeth. My tiny baby is careening headlong into toddlerhood and I am just trying to keep up without my heart breaking/bursting. This wasn’t the only.milestone we hit since my last post. In fact…

*Mostly smearing on his head/massaging into his hands and arms like lotion.

My marriage turned six years old on Friday!

My dear husband brought home a bouquet of flowers and we celebrated by driving up to our old neighborhood in Cleveland, eating some of the best bakery in the universe, having a beer at Nano Brewery while The Baby slept in his carrier, and then going home and tearing the carpets out of our hallway and The Baby’s room. It may not be super romantic, but it reinforces the fact that The Husband and I make an amazing team. Which is critical right now, because…

The home improvement saga continues

We’ve been trying to make some urgent upgrades to our house (formerly my grandparents’ house) since we moved here in April. Most pressing has been replacing the 30-year-old shag carpet that resembles a basset hound’s back in its wrinkles. With The Baby making it clear he will never again remain where I put him down on the floor, we chose this past weekend to go for the hallway and his room. (We had someone else do our living room, kitchen and pantry a few weeks ago, but committed to doing the rest of it ourselves.) I actually really like doing this kind of DIY, but the corners and closets are awful. We also painted both rooms while we had the subfloor exposed. Last night when we finally moved the furniture vack into The Baby’s room it felt wonderful to be so nearly done with this project. But it’s just one of many projects, the craziest and next one being…

We’re getting goats?!?!

It sounds like a very bad idea, but the overgrown flowerbeds and yard around our house are brimming with poison ivy, brambles and wild garlic to such a degree that getting goats has become the most timely, affordable and eco-friendly way to solve this problem. The property has a barn (currently stuffed almost literally to the rafters with broken lawnmowers) that we’re tricking our friends into helping us clear out a bit. Then we’re charging full steam ahead into acquiring some goats. I am still in disbelief that I’m doing this, but that’s sort of how I felt about parenthood, so…it will be fine? Stay tuned.

A final note of congrats…

My good friend and way better blogger Melissa became a mom last week! I’m so excited to meet her little guy and hear how her birth went. Check out her post (and blog in general… especially if you love food and running and Cleveland.)

How’s your summer going? Any tips for new goat owners? Any tips for new crawlers? Any suggestions for what beer I should buy myself to deal with all this?

Weekend warrior and half a year…