Monday, October 31, 2011

Updated Cloth Diaper Giveaway Roundup

Good morning everyone! Here are some cloth diaper giveaways I've entered myself. They are all Rafflecopter (because I don't waste my time with anything else!) Go enter to win some free fluff!

FuzziBunz Elite: http://www.clothdiaperblog.com/feed-your-stash-friday-enter-to-win-2-fuzzi-bunz-elite-os-cloth-diapers-ends-11-02-11/

Ruby Moon Laundry Detergent: http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/2011/10/fluff-friday-154.html

Thirsties' Fab Fitted, Duo Diaper, Duo Wrap: http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/blog/thirsties-thursday-giveaway-22/

FuzziBunz Perfect Size Pocket Diaper: http://dailymothering.com/fuzzibunz-one-size-pocket-cloth-diaper-review-giveaway/

Itti Bitti Tutto (no daily tweet option): http://midwesternmoms.com/2011/10/itti-bitti-bitti-tutto-review-and-giveaway/

SmartiPants pocket diaper: http://ourjacobsenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/10/back-in-fluff-smartipants-review-and.html

Oh Katy pocket diaper: http://ourjacobsenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/10/back-in-fluff-oh-katy-review-and.html

Thirsties' Duo Diaper: http://ourjacobsenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/10/back-in-fluff-thirsties-duo-diaper.html

Go Green Diaper: http://ourjacobsenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/10/back-in-fluff-gogreen-diapers-review.html

$20 Gift Card to Fluffy Rump: http://ourjacobsenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/10/back-in-fluff-fluffyrump-review-and-20.html

Sew is Your Baby Pocket Diaper: http://ourjacobsenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/10/back-in-fluff-sew-is-your-baby-review.html

Thirsties' Duo Diaper: http://mommyandmegiveaways.com/?p=635

Applecheeks: http://mommyandmegiveaways.com/?p=614 

Itti Bitti Tutto: http://mommyandmegiveaways.com/?p=711

Itti Bitti Tutto: http://sapsmama.com/2011/10/itti-bitti-tutto/

Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted/Wrap (no daily option): http://change-diapers.com/2011/10/thirsties-duo-fab-fitted-cloth-diaper-duo-wrap-giveaway-112-uscanada/

Eco Babies Newborn kit (one newborn organic cotton cover (6-11 lbs), two infant size 16″ x 12″ (fits up to 16 lbs) easy fold diapers (prefolds), three biodegradable diaper liners and a cloth diapering guide in a cute box.) (no daily option): http://change-diapers.com/2011/10/ecobabies-newborn-cloth-diaper-rental-info-diaperaps-starter-pack-giveaway-113/

Menu Plan Monday

So last week we ended up getting to go out with some friends, and leftovers stretched longer than anticipated. I only made 2 real meals last week! Thus, this week will get many of last week's meals. This is good, because the budget took a real hit last month with some unplanned expenses.

Cute to the MAX!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Puppies vs. Babies for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Puppies vs. Babies is an Animal Planet online competition to answer the eternal question--who is cuter, puppies or babies?!
It's a close call for me:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday 5 - Gratitude w/linky

I still haven't made a button for this linky yet, maybe I'll have time for that this week (ha! yeah right...)

Here's what I'm thankful for this Sunday:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Go Cardinals!!

We are from Missouri, but didn't get to watch much Cardinal baseball this year because we live in an AL area now... Thankfully we get Fox on our limited number of channels and were able to watch the World Series! We stayed up late the other night watching the crazy game six, and I knew that they would win the whole thing after that game.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Momma, not MaMa

When G is able to really talk... I want to be Momma.

Momma means love, comfort, and compassion. Momma means warm chocolate chip cookies and milk after school. Momma means putting your foot down when you have to. Momma means snuggling under covers, watching a kid movie (even when she's 14). Momma means kissing a boo-boo to make it better and not even needing a band-aid. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unreliable Sleep Log Report

This is a little over a week's worth of sleep logs for G. We did Tylenol before bed several nights because her teeth were really bugging her, and we hoped that'd help her sleep. We had some glimmers of hope Saturday-Monday nights, but now we are back to craziness. Her top teeth are bulging out, so it's only a matter of time before those cut through. You'll see that at the end of the log, her nights get pretty close to perfect...but then start back down into the crappy multiple night waking pattern.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dot Com

In case you missed the 'big' switch yesterday...

I am now officially

I'm really excited to own my own domain, as that's a big step in the direction of becoming a bigger and better 'mommy blog.' I hope this also enhances sponsorship opportunities and increases readership.

Why do I blog?

I write because I want to preserve memories of our family.
I write because I want other moms to know they are not going through things alone. We have sleep issues, feeding issues, diaper woes, and joyous happy times too!
I write because I want to share products that work for us.
I write because I want to share stories that I think are interesting, silly, or important.
I write because I want others to feel like they are a part of something...and that something is now lettersfrommommaDOTCOM

Hope you guys are excited for all that will come your way!

Double the Fun at the Park - WoW

We went to visit our friends' last weekend and had a great time with the babies who are 8 days apart.

G and her friend J at the park <3

had to include this solo picture, she loves it when Daddy pulls her up and let's go

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Post at the Cloth Diaper Whisperer

Today I have another guest post over at the Kelly's Closet blog, The Cloth Diaper Whisperer. I wrote about diaper sprayers and my first experience with swirl/dunking cloth diapers. Go check it out!

If you are visiting from the CDW blog, thanks for stopping by! I hope you decide to follow my blog through Google Friend Connect, Facebook, and/or Twitter. I'm expanding and have a big announcement coming later this week. I also host giveaways, with intentions to do more fluff reviews, too!

Please feel free to contact me with any comments or suggestions!

I'd also appreciate if you could leave a comment with your favorite cloth diaper, as I'm always looking to expand my experience and knowledge!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chewy Tubes Ps and Qs Review & Giveaway

"Chewy Tubes are innovative oral motor tools designed to provide a resilient, non-food, chewable surface for practicing biting and chewing skills" 
At church a few months ago, we saw a little boy in front of us with what appeared to be an amazing teether. He was very content to hold it, gnaw on it, and fiddle with it. It was shaped like a d, or a p--we weren't for sure. On our way home, my husband and I discussed how we needed to find one of those for G--as she was a teething mess and we knew she'd love it. Weeks went by, teething picked up even more, and her desire to gnaw on long chewy things increased. One day, sitting in front of the bathroom mirror, I handed her comb to her. She stuck the chewy end into her mouth and was really excited to gnaw on it. Probably wasn't the best thing for her to have.

Finally, we decided we needed that p or d thingy. Enter Speech Pathology Associates' Chewy Tubes. Thank you Google! I found their website and they were more than willing to sponsor a review and giveaway.
What we saw in church is actually a 'chewy p' and is part of Chewy Tubes' Ps and Qs Oral Exercisers. Oral Exercisers for G, right now, might as well be the same thing as teethers. It helps G practice her biting skills, while fulfilling her desire to gnaw on anything. She loved the Ps and Qs as soon as I washed and handed them to her. She can easily grab and chew on them both. The P is great for any teething baby/toddler, as the stem can reach back to the molar area or get bit by the front teeth/gums--the loop can also hit the canines' area at once. I like the P because it helps G develop her fine motor skills, when she practices picking it up by the stem. The Q is her current favorite, as she can gnaw on the stub and hold onto the ring very easily. The orange color is also great, so that she (and we parents) can find it easily amongst other toys. We've had them for a few weeks and she still gets excited when presented with her chewy Q or chewy P. As she gets older, the oral exercisers will continue to develop her jaw functions.
Chewy Tubes make the following products for jaw development
I received one of everything above to try with G. Besides the Ps and Qs, we've tried the yellow chewy tube, as it is the thinnest in diameter. I'm saving the thicker ones to try in a few months. She LOVES the yellow chewy tube. It's awesome because she can hold onto it in many different positions and grab it with both hands. She's still trying to figure it out, and loves chewing on it. The yellow chewy tube gets "g bonus points" for captivating her attention span for more than 5 minutes at one sitting!

"All Chewy Tubes are made of a thermo-elastic polymer material, which is FDA Approved. Chewy Tubes are latex free. They do not contain any PVC, lead or phthalates."
- ChewyTubes.com
You can buy Chewy Tubes at many online websites, like amazon.com, walmart.com, or sears.com. Chewy Tubes' website also lists distributors by state.

One Letters from Momma reader will win a set of Chewy Tubes Ps and Qs oral exercisers! Enter using the Rafflecopter Widget below. If you need help with Rafflecopter & to read rules, please click here.

I received one set of all Chewy Tubes to facilitate this review and sent an extra Ps & Qs to give away. Prize will be sent directly from me. All opinions are my own, yours may differ.

Mother-ease Cloth Diaper WINNER!

There were 77 unique entrants into the Mother-ease diaper giveaway...and I'm really pleased with that, considering Mother-ease would not post it on their facebook and twitter pages to help advertise it (their policy). That means all of the entries came from my promotion efforts alone. There were 715 entries after all bonus entries were counted.

Without further ado, the winner of a free Mother-ease Sandy's System Diaper is.......

She has been e-mailed and has until Wednesday at NOON CENTRAL time to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you to all who entered.

Letters from Momma has a BIG announcment coming at the end of this week, so stay tuned!! :-)

The new giveaway will be posted soon, and it is for Chewy Tubes Ps and Qs (teethers).

Menu Plan Monday

I pulled a cookbook off the shelf (doesn't happen often) and asked my husband to pick a meal because I was at a loss for what to make this week. I also added in his favorite choice from a few weeks ago.

Monday: Bratwursts, salad, homemade fries
Tuesday: Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: we might go out with friends, if not: Turkey and Sweet Potato Chowder
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: Tuna Melts as seen on 10/3
Sunday: leftovers

The husband requested Banana Bread for breakfast this week, and I plan to make the first pumpkin pie of the Fall.

This is linked up at Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday 5 Gratitude

Sorry this is late today! We've been doing something every weekend for the past few weeks...it's a nice change of pace from our normal lazy weekends.

These are my Sunday Five Gratitudes this week.

1. Good friends, with whom we have a lot it common. We went to our old town to stay with another couple whose baby is a week younger than G. We have similar values and family styles. We both breastfeed, use cloth diapers, and stay home. Though we do different parenting techniques, we appreciate our differences (AP vs not, mostly). It was a lot of fun to eat together, let the babies play together, go swinging, and play games at night. I like to say our girls are BFFs, but maybe Rachel and I are BFFs too ;)

2. My husband. I guess this may show up every week...but that's a good thing, right? To be appreciative of your husband can never be bad. He is a great provider and comforter... He is my "idea-bouncer-off-er-guy" and a good sound board. He listens and offers constructive advice. It helps that he loves me no matter what and is proud of me. Plus he said I can do something this week that you should all get excited about!!

3. Andy's Frozen Custard. Petty, but still... It was soooo good! I got the Pumpkin Pie Concrete. They take their made fresh hourly vanilla custard and mix it with a whole slice of pumpkin pie. Can't beat it.

4. G slept pretty good last night. It was the first time in almost 2 months that I haven't nursed her one time at night. She woke at 10:30 and needed comforting, but was able to go back to sleep without nursing. Win. She woke up at 3:30 but also returned to sleep without needing me. Amazing. I hope her sleep continues in this direction and she starts sleeping all the way through. Doubt this will happen, though, because she gets shots tomorrow and her top 4 teeth are swollen and near the surface.

5. My dad. I hadn't seen him since Labor Day, but got to see him a bit today. He loves G to pieces, and she loves him too. They're sweet together. I wish my parents lived closer. I miss them both. I'm really thankful for my dad and hope things improve for him and my mom.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Month EIGHT ends, Month NINE begins.

G turns eight months old today!! I would say "I can't believe how fast the past month went," but I'd be lying. It was pretty dang hard! Illness, teething, lack of sleep, doing new things--it's been exhausting! Mostly fun and exciting, but very VERY exhausting. I was surprised at how fast month seven went, but month eight...I'll be happy to catch my breath!

At eight months old, G's home measurements are:
Height: 27.5" (hard to get because she didn't want to lay still, so it may be off a bit)
Weight: 17.2 lbs (thanks Wii fit)
Teeth count: two bottom front 

Here are some things G is doing as a big girl at eight months old:

Pulling up!! As shown on Wordless Wednesday. Her favorite thing to pull up on is her Winnie the Pooh rocking horse. She also tries to transfer between me and furniture. If I am sitting next to the couch, chair, or coffee table, she will climb up me and maneuver her way to the other object--and visa versa. She's tried a few times to go from object to object.

Eating serious amounts of solids. She eats lunch and dinner in her high chair with the family. She likes spoon eating, but LOVES eating her Organic Puffies or Cheerios by herself. I *think* her favorite food, so far, is raspberry.

Watching about 5 minutes of TV some days. Yes, I've loosened the reigns a TINY bit. Everyone in my family thinks I'm crazy for not letting G watch any TV...but I don't think it does her any good (and it's NOT recommended, either). Lately, though, I'll snuggle her in our bed in the morning and watch the news for a bit while she crawls around the pillow piles and mounds of covers. Then, I'll switch the channel to PBS and it's like she KNOWS that's for her. She can tell by the colors and voices that it's a baby show and starts to pay attention! She likes Super Why and Sesame Street, but to be fair, we haven't caught Sid the Science Kid (my personal fave) yet. We don't watch the whole show, only about 5 minutes...but she loves it. Ugh!

She is faster than ever in her army crawl--but still not up on all fours. I don't know if she will ever crawl on all fours. She will get up on her hands and knees and rock a lot, but then when she takes off, she decides her elbows are better. Her booty gets up in the air sometimes, and it's hilarious to watch. Her crawl looks a lot like a lizard.

G is getting into ANYTHING possible, including the edge of the carpet. She has pulled out the little frays and tried to put them in her mouth. I think I've stopped her every time, but who knows. I'm getting woven rugs to put over the edge of the carpet--hopefully that helps.

She is a great reader. She's always paid good attention when we read to her, but she seems to have jumped up in her interest level. Her favorite so far has been Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Everyone has commented on how much she enjoys being read to.

Her favorite things in our house are her one month pictures. I don't know if it's the colors, or what, but she loves them. A close second is the cookie jar.

She has started crying when I leave her at the gym daycare. I suppose this is separation anxiety. It typically turns out fine, but some days I do have to come get her before I'm done working out because she hasn't settled down.

G behaves pretty well in church, but it's a workout for mom and dad. She climbs all over us and wiggles SO MUCH. She is quiet and mostly respectful (for a baby), so we'll count our blessings there.

She says "momma." Sometimes she says "ma-ma" but other times it really does sound like "momma," which, of course, excites me so much! She hasn't associated it with me, so no real "first word" yet.

She likes bath time until we try to rinse her hair. She always moves the wrong way. She also hates being diapered and dressed after enjoying her birthday suit for 15 or so minutes.

Among the many cute things G does, my favorite is:
She lays on her side and lifts the top leg, then kicks it back and forth. I don't know where she picked this up, but it looks like she's doing a workout video and it's absolutely PRECIOUS.

My favorite part of our day:
She will snuggle up to me a few times a day, only for a brief moment each time. She lays her head down on my chest or shoulder and sucks her little thumb; she is calm and I wrap my arms around her. Before I can really soak it all in, she lifts her head and is ready to move on. I treasure those few seconds so much... I actually just teared up thinking about it. Wow, LOL

Anyways, G has really grown so much in the past month and I'm looking forward to what month nine has to offer. I know she won't disappoint--she's a born superstar.

Momma loves you bitty girl!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Itti Bitti Sweepstakes on woobox, 3 winners!

Just wanted to share...

I don't know if you all have seen this SUPER easy to enter giveaway, but it's a woobox giveaway, so all you do is click the link below and enter your email address. You can enter everyday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rationing Cloth Diapers

What does your cloth diaper stash look like? How would you describe you diapering style?

"Diaper Central"
My stash is more prefolds, with a growing number of pocket diapers. I have a few fitteds. I'd describe it as slowly growing. My cloth diapering style is "easy as possible." I don't want to mess around on the changing table, so I do as much work ahead of time as possible (stuffing, prepping, organizing). I want G's diapers to be as much like disposables as possible--in terms of easy to use.

Now think about your favorite diapers, you know, the ones you wish you had more of--but your budget just won't allow it--how particular are you about when those get used?

our pockets
missing only my black SmartiPants
Unfortunately, prefolds are way cheaper than pockets. So, I have more prefolds, which are not as easy to use. Prefolds aren't good night or nap time options for us, and they don't contain poop very well--unless I use a snappi, which isn't often because they aren't "easy." So when I know G will be sleeping, or possibly pooping, I use a pocket diaper. Like many things, not all pocket diapers are created equally. Some keep G drier than others, and some are better fits. Some stuff well and are still trim...while others stuff super huge and nothing really fits over them. In our house, I have certain pocket diapers that are night time approved and others that are only nap time approved. Yes, I may be crazy!

I call it "Diaper Rationing," and it's a daily occurrence in my household.

G takes 2 naps a day (one diaper a piece) and goes through one-maybe two-diapers at night. IF we go to the gym, I'll put a pocket diaper on her then, too. So I need at least 5 pocket diapers set aside each day. I have ten pocket diapers currently in rotation. Simple math tells you that I have just enough, maybe.

I'm going to miss sunning our dipes
I do laundry every other day, and sometimes diapers aren't dry in time and I'm scrounging around trying to figure out what to do. You can be sure laundry gets done in the afternoon if my night time diapers are MIA. I'll use my new Mother-ease fitted for naps and sometimes night time, so that helps fill the gaps now. I'll put G in a disposable (Huggies Pure & Natural) for naps before I'll use a prefold.

I have many different types of diapers in our stash, and they all have a purpose...but I sure would like it if I had enough of my 'favorites' so that the world didn't come crashing down when the diaper I want to use is dirty or drying!

Our ideal diaper "schedule" for now:

Day 1
Night Diaper: SmartiPants stuffed with microfiber, Thirsties Hemp Duo (or Hemp Babies) and Thirsties Hemp Insert
Reserve second night diaper: Microfiber and hemp stuffed pocket diaper
First Morning Diaper: Fitted to protect for any extra morning poop
Second Morning Diaper: prefold
Nap time diaper (or gym diaper, depending on the day): Fuzzibunz or OhKaty stuffed with microfiber and doubler
diapers between naps: prefolds
Nap time diaper: Fuzzibunz, Kawaii Baby, or Tots Bots stuffed with microfiber and doubler
diapers until bed time: prefolds

Day 2
Night Diaper: My new bumGenius 4.0 style Kawaii Baby stuffed with microfiber, Thirsties Hemp Duo, &  Thirsties Hemp Insert
Reserve second night diaper: Microfiber and hemp stuffed pocket diaper
First Morning Diaper: Fitted to protect for any extra morning poop
Second Morning Diaper: prefold
Nap time diaper (or gym diaper, depending on the day): Fuzzibunz or OhKaty stuffed with microfiber and doubler
diapers between naps: prefolds
Nap time diaper: Fuzzibunz, Kawaii Baby, or Tots Bots stuffed with microfiber and doubler
diapers until bed time: prefolds

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Look What I Can Do Ma!! Wordless on Wednesday

G pulled up in her crib for the first time this Monday!!

It was a SUPER proud day for this momma. Of all of my baby pictures, one that sticks out the most if of me standing up in my crib for the first time...and now G's got her own picture of her first time standing up!

I opened the door to get her from her first nap on Monday 10-17...and what did I see???
She was standing up! It was totally unexpected, so I ran to get the camera. By the time I came back, turned the light on, figured out what was wrong with the camera, and lined up to snap the picture...she was so confused and started crying! I had to cheer her on so that she'd smile again for me! It was quite comical--I was sort of spazing out. I was so excited for her!! She could tell, too, because she was in the best mood for the next few hours!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tylenol commentary and Weekly Sleep Log

don't let this grin fool you! ;-)
Someone found my blog by googling, "sleep log," so I thought I'd share G's sleep log for the week. Teething has re-entered our lives in full force, after a few days off. I guess some babies aren't bothered by teething...my daughter is not one of them. She has two bottom teeth and I guess the top two are working their way down. My commentary on Tylenol is at the end of the log.

Monday - average day, except the crap last nap

Night sleep (NS): 7:55 - 3:20, 7:25
Eat: 3:25
Ns: 3:50 - 5:50, 2
Eat: 6
Ns: 6:20 - 7:10, 50
Ns: 7:40 - 8:10, 30
Tons: 10:45
Eat: 9:30
Nap: 10 - 11:30, 1:30
Solids: 1:55
Eat: 2:30
Nap: 2:45 - 3:05, 20
Eat: 4:45
Eat: 5:20
Solids: 6:30
Eat: 7:20
Total: 12:45
Wake time (WT): 1:50 / 3:15 / 4:35
Meals: 7 milk, 2 solids

Tuesday - not such a great day, crap for naps = low total sleep and long WT before bed
Ns: 7:40 - 11:50, 4:10
Eat: 1
Ns: 1:30 - 5:40, 4:10
Eat: 5:45
Ns: 6 - 8:25, 2:25
Tons: 10:45
Eat: 9:35
Eat: 10:30
Nap: 10:50 - 11:30, 40m
Solids: 11:50
Eat: 1:10
Nap: 1:30 - 2, 30m
Eat: 4:35
Solids: 6:25
Eat: 7:20
Total: 11:55
Wt: 2:25 / 2 / 5:40
Meals: 7, 2 solids

Wednesday - great day! (high total sleep, making up for previous day)
Ns: 7:40 - 4:50, 9:10
Eat: 4:55
Ns: 5:10 - 8:10, 3
Tons: 12:10
Eat: 8:50
Eat: 10:40
Nap: 10:50 - 11:50, 1
Solids: 1:30
Eat: 2
Nap: 2:30 - 3:50, 1:20
Eat: 5:50
Solids: 6:45
Eat: 7:35
Total: 14:30
Wt: 2:40 / 2:40 / 4:55
Meals: 6, 2 solids

Thursday - crap first nap, but pretty solid day
Ns: 7:55 - 3:55, 8
Eat: 4:15
Ns: 4:35 - 7:25, 2:50
Tons: 10:50
Eat: 7:50
Eat: 8:50
Nap: 9:45 - 10:20, 35m
Solids: 12:20
Eat: 12:45
Nap: 12:55 - 2:20, 1:25
Eat: 4:40
Solids: 6:55
Eat: 7:20
Total: 12:50
Wt: 2:20 / 2:35 / 5
Meals: 6, solids 2

Friday - weird day, 3 naps, short wake times...teething?sick?growth?
Ns: 7:40 - 2:30, 6:45
Eat: 2:45
Ns: 3:10 - 6:45, 3:35
Tons: 10:20
Eat: 6:50
Eat: 8:30
Nap: 8:40 - 9:20, 40m
Eat: 11:15
Nap: 11:25 - 12:50, 1:25
Eat:ish 2:40
Solids: 2:45
Eat: 4:05
Nap: 4:15 - 5:20, 1:05
Solids: 6:15
Eat: 7:15
Total: 13:30
Wt: 2 / 2 / 3:25 / 3
Meals: 7, 2 solids

Saturday - crappy day...bad night sleep, bad naps...UGH
Ns: 8:15 - 11:35, 3:20
Nurse: 12:15
Ns: 12:30 - 2:15, 1:45
Eat: 2:20
Ns: 2:35 - 4:30: 1:55
Eat: 4:40
Ns: 5:05 - 7, 1:55
Tons: 8:55
Eat: 9
Nap: 9:30 - 10:05, 35m
Eat: 12:05
Solids: 1
Eat: 3:40
Nap: 3:50 - 4:30, 40m
Solids: 6:20
Eat: 6:45
Total: 10:10
Wt: 2:30 / 5:45 / 2:35
Eat: 6, solids: 2

Sunday - we gave her Tylenol at 10:15, something was really hurting her (felt it would be beneficial to get us all some sleep after the crappy day before) and it turned into a great sleep day
Ns: 7:05 - 9:55, 2
Eat: 10:30
Ns: 10:55 - 5:25, 6:30
Ns: 5:45 - 8:05, 2:20
Total, 10:50
Eat: 8:50
Eat: 10:25
Nap: 10:35 - 12, 1:25
Solids: 1:30
Eat: 2:40
Nap: 2:55 - 4:15, 1:20
Solids: 6:15
Eat: 7:45
Total: 13:35
Wt: 2:30 / 2:55 / 3:45
Eat: 5, 2 solids

This night (Sunday night into Monday, which will appear on next week's sleep log) we gave her Tylenol at bedtime as per my mom's advice to see if it helped G avoid the early night waking (ENW). Instead of the ENW we had the past 2 nights, she slept until almost 5 am... I don't like the idea of giving G Tylenol all the time, but her sleep was on a bbbaaadd downward spiral, and my husband and I were walking zombies too. Nothing worked at her night wakings, nursing would only buy us an hour or two, and she was not hungry at all. And that's just as bad of a habit as medicineevery night and wanting her (and us!) to get sleep.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I bet you all were really sad when I didn't post a meal plan last week. I was just thrown off by being out of town for the wedding / not going to the grocery store...so I just made do for most of the week. We didn't really have anything exciting.

Here's what my family will be eating this week:

Monday: yummy Loaded Baked Potato Soup, salad
Tuesday: we are taking dinner to our friends' house. I am making Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, bread, and dessert, they are providing salad
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: we are going out with some friends to a local pub
Friday: homemade pizza or pasta, salad
Saturday: we are out of town at some friends' house, and I'm hoping she'll make us yummy dinner!
Sunday: leftovers

Source: Kraft Foods
This week's dessert: Nutter Butter Balls --like Oreo Balls, only made with Nutter Butters!

Post linked to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole Recipe

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Preheat: 300 degrees
Cook time: 90 minutes

1.5 - 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6-8 pieces of Swiss cheese
6-8 big pieces of deli ham (thick or thin, depending on your preference)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2/3 c milk
1/3 c butter, softened
1/2 package of Pepperidge Farm fine seasoned stuffing (blue bag)

Grease a 9x13 casserole dish.
Combine soup and milk in a separate bowl and mix until blended.
Roll ham slices, enough so that the ham isn't laying flat on the dish.
Top with chicken pieces.
Top meat with cheese and pour soup mixture over everything.
Combine stuffing and softened butter in a separate bowl.
Crumble over the top of casserole.
Bake at 300 degree for one hour, cover with foil and cook for another thirty minutes.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

3 lbs red potatoes, I peel 3/4 and leave the other 1/4 unpeeled
1/4 c flour
1/4 c butter
8 c half & half (I sub in 4 cups milk and sour cream to make it a bit lighter, using only 4 cups half & half, you can also sub in cream to make it heavier)
16 oz Velveeta
(corn starch for thickening, as desired)
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon, scallions or chives

Cut the potatoes into chunks and boil for about 10 minutes in a separate pot, until 3/4 of the way done. Drain, set aside.
In soup pot, melt the butter and mix in flour until smooth.
Gradually add in the dairy (whatever combination you are using), stir until it starts to thicken (will not thicken too much if you use more milk than cream/half & half). Stir constantly
Melt Velveeta and blend in completely.
Now, in a little bowl, I blend 2 tbsp cornstarch with a bit of cold water until smooth, and then mix into soup to thicken it up some.
Add potatoes and seasonings into the soup pot.
Cook for 30 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.
Dip into bowls and serve with toppings.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Five - Gratitude

This week I am thankful for:

The wonderful weather yesterday and the afternoon of fun that my husband's job provided for us. We went to a local cider mill for a free lunch and admission to the pumpkin patch/corn maze/etc... We went last year too, but the baby was still in my belly, so I'm thankful we were able to share the experience with her! We met up with another family, so that was nice to let the babies interact.

My husband's cousins are coming down today, for more than just the evening, so they'll get to play with G. I'm really thankful we like hanging out so much! We have plenty in common and they love the baby. I'm hoping we'll get to take her to the park, too. I'm making baked potato soup for dinner--yum!

I'm thankful for G sleeping "okay" last night. I'll post sleep logs later, so you'll see what I mean. It wasn't a great night, but I did get to sleep from 10:50 to 5:20, and 5:45 - 7 (due to my husband getting up to volunteer at the pancake breakfast) so I'll take that.

I'm thankful for my husband's job. I bought a LOT of groceries yesterday because I am feeding two other people today and Tuesday...thankfully we have the money to feed others. I'm happy to share what we have, even if it's not a lot.

I'm thankful for our health. Cliche or not, we are pretty healthy people, and I thank God for that today.

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10 Day YOU Challenge - Day 10

Today is the final day of my 10 Day YOU Challenge to share some personal tidbits about me.

I'm sharing ten secrets today...but I guess they aren't super secret, or else I wouldn't tell you!

1. The other day, while in Target, I glanced at the maternity section...wishing I were still pregnant because the options are less overwhelming and things are MADE to make you comfy. I miss that. I don't miss wearing maternity clothes, but I miss the way they made shopping for clothes more simple.

2. Sometimes I wish I were done nursing. I think I've wished that since day one, actually. I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding (As you'll find out in the coming weeks, as I plan to write more about my BF'ing experiences). Secretly, I am envious of moms who use formula. It's hard in its own way (cost, mixing, washing, sterilizing, etc...), but you don't have to worry about pumping, leaking, or being basically attached to your baby 24/7. I don't WANT to use formula, but I secretly wish I did sometimes. The grass isn't greener...I know. Plus, it IS healthier and better for the both of us.

3. I secretly (is it really secret anymore?) want to go back to college. I miss school and I miss a more care-free way of life. Oh, to be young, wild, and free. I wish my sister would enjoy her college days, because I would snatch them from her in an instant!

4. I eat dessert everyday. Yeah, everyday. I love it and I am actually happy about it. Everything in moderation!

5. I now weigh 157. Welp, there went that secret! Additionally, all of my prepregnancy clothes fit again. Alleluia.

6. I was the editor of my high school yearbook. Junior year = design editor; senior year = editor-in-chief. I'm a total yearbook nerd & proud. I love all things yearbook: pictures, layouts, quotes, stories, ads, you name it...I miss it (but not the stress!)

7. I have a temper. Is that a secret? I have lost my cool on several occasions, at inopportune times. I blame it on the fact that I am just a really, REALLY passionate person. If something is really important to me, and something/one messes it up...I may go off. I have been working on this. I do like to think my temper has improved substantially since becoming a mom...

8. Sometimes I use my spit to wash something off G's face. Yup, I'm that mom. I also wash her hands every time we come back from a playgroup or the gym daycare. I don't like her to be germy...unless it's my germs. She eats from my boobs...seriously.

9. I still secretly want to work. I want to earn money and feel like I am financially contributing to our family. Do I love being a SAHM? YES! I just need to figure out how to be a WAHM.

10. I've never done drugs. Ever. That's a 'secret' worth sharing, eh? I didn't even take the vicodin they gave me after knee surgeries...I hated the way it made me nauseous.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

wanted: "marriage after baby" tips & 5 Love Languages

Attending our friends' wedding and reading my new friend's blog has got me really focused on marriage lately. I think my husband and I have a great marriage, but sometimes it's nice to step back and re-center ourselves.

I know many of my readers are married, so I'd like to share this website: The Five Love Languages. The gist is that there are five different ways you might want to be loved: through words, through time, through service, through touch, and through gifts. Just because you prefer one or the other, doesn't mean none of the rest matter--it simply means that's the best way to fulfill your needs in marriage.

It's helpful to know your love language so that your partner can be sure to address your needs, while you can address his or hers by knowing their love language... check out this super easy assessment.

My main love language is Quality Time, and my husbands is Physical Touch. While my love language is very obvious through my 'scores' on the assessment, my husband actually has 3 really close scores. Is he easier to love? HAHA!

I commented to him that I think these love languages reflect our current life situation, and perhaps at another time they will be different. Right now, I am constantly caring for G, and he is at work a LOT. I miss having alone time with my husband, and he misses cuddling with me as much as we did before I was carrying a baby all day. I also think that my husband does a great job of giving me love through words of affirmation, so that's already done for me...without needing to chose it as my love language. I do loads of acts of service for my husband, so that's not really a "need" for him right now either.

So, all-in-all, I think the thing about "Love Languages" is that it mostly points out what you need to make more of an effort to do for each other at this current phase of your marriage.

I'd also like to ask for your tips on keeping your marriage going strong despite children. So please leave me anything that works for you! I think Mandi would appreciate it, too!

Something that works for us? Taking walks together and holding hands--quality time AND physical touch!

10 day YOU Challenge - day nine

Day nine is about 9 loves. I like this a lot better than eight fears from yesterday!

1. My husband. This is obvious, but I couldn't start a 'loves' list without making him number 1! He is absolutely amazing. I don't know how he puts up with me sometimes, but he does :-) He's not perfect or anything, but he is perfect for me. It's so comforting having him around, he eases my nerves, consoles me in pain, and celebrates in my happiness. He's a great dad, too.

2. G. Again, duh, but she's completely dependent on ME right now, so of course I love her! Without love, a momma couldn't go on sometimes. Being a momma is HARD work, and loving our babies is what gets us through. She's funny (and her laugh is infectious), she's sweet (finally started cuddling more!), she is smart (amazingly so), she is strong (I literally have to restrain her during changes), she is silly (she has had a personality since day one), and she is mine. I love you G!

3. My family. They are nuts--more so than your family, I guarantee it--but I wouldn't change anything about them. I love getting together with the extended family, I feel "at home" with them.

4. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Yes, I go from people to a Starbucks drink. It's that amazing. I'd drink one (or 2) everyday if I was a millionaire. I know some people don't like them...but since discovering them 6 years ago, I have to tell you, they are, in fact, Fall in a cup. Fall is my favorite season, thus I LOVE PSLs.

5. Wednesday nights. The 'funny' shows are on then, and usually my husband and I will eat less-healthy-than-normal food while watching them. We celebrate the completion of half the week with laughs and relaxing.

6. Going to Mass. I enjoy going to mass. When I was younger, I thought it took for.ev.er to get over--but I just hadn't learned to appreciate all of the parts and their meaning. Participating in mass centers my life. It helps me realign myself with God and reminds me of my faith (See below). With G, it's a tad bit less enjoyable, as one of us is always having to wrangle her in, but she needs to learn how important mass is (and how to behave).

7. Running/exercising. Silly, but still. I love working out. It helps me relieve stress and feel good about my body. I enjoy using my muscles, including my heart. When I was in high school, I was on crutches for almost a month. I really missed walking on my own, and swore that I'd never take my legs for granted again...working out is my way of doing that. You never know what you have, until it's gone. Use it, before you lose it. All those cliches apply to my mindset when it comes to working out. Do I do it everyday? No, but several times a week.

8. Baking/Cooking. As you read a few days ago, I love to be in the kitchen. I enjoy preparing food for myself and others. I love the smells of baking. I enjoy using my hands to create nourishment. I like trying new recipes and making my own. I like my food to taste good, and the best way to assure that happens, is to make it myself! I also enjoy being complimented on the food that I provide to others ;-)

9. God. I suppose I should have put God as number one, to reflect His importance in my life, but I like to end on a high note...and what better note to end on than the Lord? I am Catholic and it defines the way I live my life.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It finally happened.

My poor, whimpy prefold and unsuspecting Bummis Whisper wrap didn't stand a chance. It was an unexpected poop from the black lagoon. G's clothes actually had MORE poop on them than the diaper did. I guess it's related to something she ate and the way she was crawling?

Either way, it finally happened. We had a blow out poop that resulted in a bath. We've had a few blow outs (now refered to as mini-blow-outs) that were handled with some wipes and a clean change of clothes, but there was no getting away from this one...my afternoon was ruined. I had plans to go to the grocery store, do some ironing maybe--but instead we took over an hour to delicately remove said dirty clothes without getting too much smeared around, remove and spray down the dipe/cover, rinse G under the faucet, find the bath tub, run a bath, wash the baby, dry the mad baby, re-diaper the mad baby, and clothe said baby. She was SO mad. It was not bath time, nor even bath day. She didn't understand why I was doing all of this...so of course she fought me, which took even more time. I tried to remain calm, but after an hour, I told her in desperation, "Well, G, momma wouldn't have to do all of this if you were potty trained!" HA! My nearly eight month old daughter stared at me and then resumed crying.

Long story short, I am SOOOO over prefolds. I usually only use them when I anticipate #1...but like I said, this was a poop from the middle of nowhere!
I want my pockets/fitted stash to grow ASAP!

Needless to say, I'm beat. What a day...What a day.

Honeymoon on a college kid's dime

My husband and I got married in the middle of our college careers. Due to some time and financial constraints, we had a pretty modest honeymoon--but took a bonus double-duty-trip in January when my husband turned 21 (we went to Vegas for a few days).

Before I describe our honeymoon, I have to tell you how our marriage started. My husband started feeling sick during our reception. The morning after our wedding, I drove across the street to KMart to pick up some Pepto-Bismo, Sprite, and Saltines. That didn't really help. We eventually had to get the heavier stuff. It was either food poisoning or a stomach-bug. It took him almost all week to get over it. It's kind of a big joke now, about how we started off with the "in sickness" vows right away!

we got to keep the robes!
It was quite a mish-mash of a honeymoon week, with many stops and adventures. First, we drove to the middle of Missouri--to the Lake of the Ozarks' Lodge of the Four Seasons. We stayed there for 2 nights; we had booked the Romance Package that included an 'upgraded' room, a couples massage, breakfast each morning, and one night of a fancy dinner at the hotel's steakhouse. Then we drove to our home in Columbia Missouri, unpacked wedding presents, did some laundry, and stayed a night. Then we drove to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. Then we drove to Kansas City to stay downtown and take in the Crown Center's Christmas Tree lighting. Then we attended the MU/KU rivalry game at Arrowhead Stadium.

The first night, since my husband felt so sick...we ordered in room service and tried to make the best of the situation. He took a lot of medicine and tried to muster through. I felt so bad for him, never really feeling sorry for myself, I just wanted him to feel better. The next day was a bit better, we even went for a walk by the water. Our couples massage was perfect, and he humored me by sitting in the hot tub for a while. We basically had the whole place to ourselves, as it was the off season and the week of Thanksgiving. I did most of the driving because he was so sick. By the time we went to his parents, he was about 80% better. Our stay in Kansas City was pretty nice, but MU lost and we were freezing because it was sleeting. We ended up watching the last quarter of the game in a Hooters (of all places) surrounded by fellow MU fans whose hearts were broken as the comeback slipped away (it's the 2007 game, I'm referencing).

Quite a week, eh? Here are some pics (taken with my phone...before I had an iPhone, so I apologize for lack of quality)
"Welcome" plate & congratulatory card
breakfast room service--my favorite!
relaxing by the fireplace, reading the paper
Before our 'fancy' steakhouse dinner
Our dessert spread, "on the house" in honor of our honeymoon
The strawberries were cut into roses

@ Crayola Cafe
I'm on there, just not as dark ;-)
we didn't plan it, but we saw the Christmas Tree lighting celebration!
view from our room downtown KC
He NEVER falls asleep when I drive, but this was a long week!

I wrote this post to link up with Betty Beguiles, as did my new bloggy friend Mandi.