A Baby Update: 20 Months

Hi friends.

I had planned to continue showing our baby faves at all the normal milestone intervals – 6m, 9m, 1 yr, 18 months and so on. But then Clara started walking and really, as long as the girl was fed, rested and clothed – all she needed was a little mischief to keep her gears going. Screw the adorable wooden toys, sweet linen onesies and pristine soft leather crib shoes. She was ready for toddlerhood in every way.

Favorites have included scissors, phone cords, wallets, mommy’s pill bottles, sharpies and any other item we say no to. Preferred activities are picking at the mole on my clavicle (I had to have it removed), writing on the walls, the floor, herself and dipping her hands into the fish tank and then licking them.

This all might sound like complaining and truthfully it is and it isn’t. Obviously I don’t treasure following her around with a dust buster and magic eraser. Or clinging to her torso as she noodles out of my arms because I would not let her pick all of the flowers from our neighbors yard. But do I love the look of sheer delight on her face when I ask her if she wants to feed the fish in the morning? Yes. Do I laugh hysterically when she “finds” me “hiding” under the blanket? YAS. Do I share in her exaltation at Dave and Ava, her Hello Kitty plushes and opening the freezer? YES I DO!

It is equal parts joy and frustration. Energy and total exhaustion. I feel like such a dad when I say “this girl is going to keep us on our toes” but really, she is.

Take, for example the lovely spaghetti dinner we were having the other night when she somehow obtained a tiny circular smiley faced sticker, brought it to her sniffer and forcefully inhaled. One hour later David and I were on our way to Randall Children’s Hospital at the behest of our pediatrician. SO yeah, we’re on our toes now. Especially when it comes to stickers. And for anyone who is curious, we did not find the GD sticker up her nose.

Here we are in the E.R

She relishes at the sight of any kind of marker, ballpoint pen or other coloring apparatus. And after several walls scribbled in crayon and legs marked with pen, I got the girl an aqua doodle water mat on Amazon. Both her and her older sister love it and it was $12. It is this one if you are interested.

She is also a huge fan of the out-of-doors, despite my disapproval ;). Luckily though, she prefers walks to hikes and patios to grass.

Since parks these days are abysmal ghost towns that remind us the golden days of yesteryear, we have mostly steered clear. We did stop at one a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t resist an illegal session on the swing set.

But like come onnnn. Look at that face! ARREST US.

Can we also quickly touch on how insurmountably hard it is to raise children, one being a toddler, amidst a pandemic? While working from home full time? While trying to maintain relationships, friendships, connections? While trying to keep a tidy home? A sane mind?

Like I said…insurmountable.

We do not have childcare. So when I say it is a balancing act, it really is. I feel guilty when I have not stepped away from my computer for 4 hours and Clara has not been properly interacted with for more than 5 minutes. But then I feel guilty when I step away for 20 minutes to chase her around the kitchen or read her a book and I realize I’ve missed an urgent message from a co-worker. It’s a lose-lose. I know I am not alone and like HSM reminds us, “we’re all in this together!” but like, damnnn. This is hard.

But here are the things that make it better:

And

oh, and

did I mention?

and these guys too

So I guess the baby update is that she really is not a baby anymore. And while that makes me so sad I could vom, I am also pretty excited and proud at the little gal she is becoming. Stay tuned for her 2 year update in which I will  spend 48 solid hours in tears.

 

Baby Faves – 1 Year Edition

The more you know, right?

Today I am here to report on our favorite things after one year in the books. But before I do that, please note that the first rule with babies is that there are no rules!  What works for some will not work for others. This includes but is not limited to sleeping, eating, drinking, nursing, not nursing, oksobasically – everything. Every human being has different needs and the human we are attempting to raise is no exception.

But here are the things that stick out in my mind that have made this journey, well, better.

  1. SwaddleDesigns Cozy zzZipMe Sack

These have (hands down) been our favorite sleep sacks. The Cozy zzZipMe Sack is perfect for winter, or if you like to crank the AC in the summer. SwaddleDesigns swaddles, sleep sacks and blankets come in ALL different kinds of fabrics from cotton to fleece. We have made these sleepsacks part of our “routine” for both naps and bedtime and I feel like when we slip her into it, she knows it’s time to go to sleep. I basically want one for myself.

2. Bek and Jet Vegan Leather Bib

These bibs are wipeable and waterproof, yet surprisingly soft for being made of pleather! I am no Vegan but I can appreciate that they are. I mean, does a baby need real leather? I think not. I love that this thing stays looks nice no matter how much we spill. I have brought it out to dinner a few times because it is our “classy” bib.

Clara gives it a thumb’s up too.

3. Skip Hop Playpen

We got this Skip Hop playpen second hand when we realized we needed a way to keep Clara away from the Christmas tree. Since then, it has stuck around and been an immense help with keeping her little paws away from stuff. As you can see below in the super high quality photo I took of Clara sitting in her toy box, it goes across the fireplace and bookshelf so she cant get up on the hearth. What I love about this baby gate in particular is that it is pretty transparent (you can see through it) and it isn’t completely unsightly. It actually goes fairly well with the colors in our living room! I also love that it can be a playpen or just a babygate, as the wall sections bend either way and can be removed so it can fit any space.

I should also shout out this PINK baby piano she got for her birthday (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), She absolutely adores it.

The photo below is how we wrapped it around the Christmas tree. And also…

4. THIS TRIKE! (Little Tikes 4-in-1 Trike)

We won this at a silent auction and have taken her out for a spin a few times with GREAT success. The kid absolutely loves it. I cannot image the fun we are going to have when it isn’t drizzling 24-7. Here we are on a couple more adventures.

Hat tip to Auntie Megan for the matching hats.

5. MUSIC!

Trying to open the piano.

I realized early on, that this child LOVES and reacts very strongly to music. She loves something with a beat, but also sways her arms back and forth to slower stuff too. If you have been following this blog for the ALMOST DECADE that I have been writing (holy t*ts) you know that music is in my veins. I sincerely hope that love gets passed on to Clara. Here is a list of our favorite songs at the mome:

  • Mozart – Rondo alla Turca
  • Vivaldi – The Ring of Mystery (on Spotify)
  • Fitz and the Tantrums – Hand Clap
  • The Office Theme Song

And that’s the list!

I mean, we have a million other things that make life easier for us. But when I find myself getting caught up in making sure she has alllll the “right” things (age-appropriate mind-stimulating toys, cute all-natural cotton clothes, grass-fed antibiotic-free milk, etc. etc.) I try to take a sec to realize she already has everything she needs. Because she has US. *cue the violins*

Clara is ONE

WELL. It happened.

And I tried so hard you guys. I did everything in my power. And it still happened. I am not okay with this for the following reasons:

  1. The older she gets, the bigger she gets. And the bigger she gets, the less she will let me hold her. And ALL I want to do is be able to hold her forever. Luckily, I am a pretty big lady so fingers crossed she will let me.
  2. Also, the older she gets, the less it is acceptable for me to bite her thighs, kiss the bottoms of her feet and nuzzle my entire face into her neck to the point where she is upset at me.
  3. Basically there is nothing good about her getting older.

On the day of her actual birth, we had a low-key family day.

I started it off with a rather dramatic cry. It just came out of me. Probably didn’t help that I listened to “Goodnight my Angel” by Billy Joel while I gave her a bottle.

Then I took her 1-year pictures in the chair and she was being so cute and funny.

Then, we got ready for her birthday outing! An afternoon at the Wiggle Room (a softplay center for babies).

Thanks to Auntie Meg for the matching hats!

And the next day, we threw her a birthday party. We did a Nutcracker/Land of Sweets theme and boy did Nancy go to town on the decorations! Clara is pretty lucky to have a Nana like her.

So adorable, yes?

I made her smash cake, which never got smashed.

I even bought an organic cake mix and used this bougie canned frosting that was like $6.99.

I am such a good mom, I know.

Clara Jane was just the sweetest she could be.

It was the best time ever.

We love this human so much. She has completely changed our lives and spreads the love where ever she goes. Happy birthday to our CJ!

Family Photos

WARNING! These were taken approximately 390834 months ago (or in early June) and therefore warrant the following disclaimers.

Disclaimer 1: I did not get my hair done prior to these photos.  I did have a haircut, but the color is REAL ROUGH. I know it’s bad and I’m sorry.

Disclaimer 2: The state of my hair is due to childbirth. If you are unaware, having a baby can cause hair loss. If you would like to know more or see additional unsightly photos, read this post.

I realize the first two disclaimers are about my hair. Believe me, there’s a reason.

Disclaimer 3: I did not look at this dress in a full, body-length mirror before these photos were taken. If I had, I would NOT have opted to wear an ill-fitting, unflattering garment simply because it was a nice brand in a nice color from the Rack for $14. Also, you cannot tell in the photos but it was stained AF. I made a poor, poor choice.

Disclaimer 4: I did not come prepared for these pictures. I did not bring a blanket, or any props or really anything at all.

Disclaimer 5: C and E’s outfits are just mehhhh. I chalk this up to my rampant indecisiveness that is a horrid symptom of my PPA. It came down to the wire on what they would wear and I just could not make up my mind for the LIFE OF ME.

OK, now that those are outta the way…feast your eyes!

Also, major hat tip to Liz Wade our photographer who was amazing, SO easy to work with, patient and talented.

After having lived through this experience (it was touch and go), I can now feel justified in offering up the following advice:

  1. Bring a GD blanket. Esp if you are taking outdoor photos.
  2. Before the photos, take care ‘ya business. Hair most notably.
  3. Dress up. This ones a personal pref, but I think photos look 823873 times better in more dressy clothing.
  4. Floppy sun hats are a YES for the littles.
  5. If your baby is still too young to sit up on her own, you best bring something to prop her up with! Or get yerself a GREAT photog like we did that can Photoshop out your hand that was holding the baby up (see pic of Clara sitting up as evidence, baby girl was being held up by David’s hand in this pic!)

Ghouls, Girls Trips and Great Times

Oh yes I did!

How about that title eh? Prrretty good.

If I did not use this kind of  title, I would have been forced to go with the truth, which is…I Work Full Time and Have a Baby! Or, I’d Rather Lay in Bed and Watch YouTube Videos than Write a Blog Post!

To anyone out there who works, has a family AND manages to do even a sub-par job at a hobby – GOOD FOR YOU. This sh*t is hard. Now I know why people  who used to have blogs or YouTube channels, or hobbies no longer keep them up…they had a kid haha.

I refuse to let this happen to me because –

  1. It is really important to me. I love writing and this is my self-care time. My therapist along with many Pinterest boards tell me this is okay.
  2. My family and I can look back at this stuff years from now. And that will be cool.
  3. When people tell me they read my blog, it makes me feel good. HONESTY!

So let’s start with Halloweenis. I had real high hopes of being one of those people who has her act together and organizes a cute family costume. Noooope. Didn’t happen.  I did manage to nab Clara something for $3 at Goodwill (which is the amount everyone with a baby should have to spend on a Halloween costume they will wear for approx .342 seconds). And since E stans hard for the Descendants, she was Uma. I don’t really understand the Descendants thing. I am hoping she discovers the glory that is High School Musical.

David and I did manage to make it out of the house for this annual Halloween party we are lucky enough to attend at our friend’s house. It is literally the highlight of our YEAR, this party. In years past, we always dress up as something funny or weird and I never look cute.

EXHIBIT A

So this year, David had one request…”Can you NOT look ugly for Halloween?” HAAhaaaaa.

So we decided to go as Hef and a Playboy bunny due to a long-standing obsession I have with the show The Girls Next Door.

I have to admit that I really loved getting all gussied up in this costume. I had on fake lashes, fake tan and fake hair meaning I felt wonderful about myself. David got a genuwine Playboy robe from Hollywood Vintage and I LOVE IT.

In early November, David, Clara and I ventured north to Seattle for a much needed girls weekend with my BFFs. I did a terrible job of capturing the memz, but I did manage a few.

The whole month of November was just wonderful. The leaves turned colors and we did lots of fun things, such as:

A fancy dinner out at Higgins with our trusty sidekick.

Getting some winter boots.

Visits from Nana.

Trips to Red Robin.

Christmas shopping (in shorts).

And putting up our tree in our new sugarplum fairy jammies.

We also had a lovely weekend visit with Auntie Amy!! We went to the zoo and had theee best time ever despite the fact it was frigid.

We were both not feelin’ a selfie so I snapped this photo for proof of life and also a perfect shot of my snaggle.

Clara was feelin the elephant exhibit.

An amazing couple of months we had! Now it’s time to await the 15 things I bought on Cyber Monday that were in fact, not good deals.

Palm Springs Vacation with Baby

Greetings rainbow sprinkles!

And please excuse my lack of posts as of late (I mean I know you are all DYING to hear more about my v exciting life). Working 30-ish hours a week and doing all the things is not easy for me. I realize some people work way more, with more kids and more responsibilities and do it all with perfectly clean homes bedecked in lovely autumnal decor and find the time to NOT look slightly homeless. As I have said many times over, that person I am not. I can barely find the time and energy to go to Goodwill and find my daughter a Halloween costume (because I refuse to spend $20 + on something she will wear for a single photo). * I did find said costume. It was $1.50.

So a few weeks ago, David, Clara and I flew to Palm Springs for our first official vacation together. Let’s get to it.

Our flight departed around 9 am which was good timing for baby’s napping situation. We went through TSA with a pre-made bottle and I got a chuckle when I told the agent, “This bag contains breastmilk.” We took the stroller and her car seat all the way to the gate and pre-boarded the with all our sh*t and a cup of hot water from Starbucks to heat up her bottle. She was a little fussy as we sat there while everyone else boarded and was ready to eat. We wanted to hold off on giving it to her until we were literally taking off to ensure her ears would be ok. It was tough but she ended up drinking it through take off and did not seem to have any trouble. After about 30 minutes in the air, David took her to the back of the plane and rocked her to sleep (he is the best) and I held her for the remainder of the flight which is MY FAVORITE THING EVER.

After landing, we took an Uber to Aunt Sandi’s house (our pad for the week) and…immediately jumped in the pool!

I did a bit of research before we left and decided to try this pool floatie for Clara. It ended up being absolutely wonderful! It was a tad big for her, so we just stuffed a towel down in the seat so she was up a bit higher. She loved the toys attached to it, kicking her feet in the water and splashing around.

The next day was David’s birthday! This year I got him a whiskey of the month club membership because I am running out of Blazers jerseys that he does not already own.

That morning, he hit a bucket of balls at the driving range.

Then an afternoon of swimming.

C is sporting her $4 swimsuit from Kohls.

For dinner that night, David’s parents and Aunt Sandi gave us a gift card to a delicious Italian place in Palm Desert called Castelli’s. Highly suggest if you are in the area!

Our reservation was for 5:30 pm because baby and we had a great time.

I was obviously feelin’ myself on the way there but upon closer inspection the baby hair breakage is abundant in this photo.

Dinner dates!

David’s steak was NO JOKE.

Check out the sky behind us!

The next day I made two astonishing discoveries:

  1. Coachella is not just the name of the music festival but also a town (face slap)
  2. We were about 20 minutes away from it

Curiosity got the cat and we decided to check it out and see what all the “fuss was about” (said in grumpy old lady voice).

Turns out Coachella, the music festival, is actually held at a polo club…and when it isn’t “Coachella” it really is just a polo club. And this one in particular was pretty amazing.

First of all, this is in the middle of the DESERT. Everyone’s lawns are rock gardens and cacti. So to see this giant, expansive grass and palm tree oasis in the middle of BROWN is pretty impressive.

The surrounding gardens were beautiful and nobody cared that we were just pushing our big ass stroller err whurr.

I also wanted to get a James Charles-esque picture before we left, so we explored the grounds and finally found a good spot.

We could have hopped the fence you see in the photo of me on the right to get closer to the rainbow windows building. But I wasn’t feelin’ it. You get the idea.

Then we had lunch at a Tavern on the property where Clara spilled a large glass of ice water directly into my lap and it went allll the way up my backside. However, all was redeemed by the saddle seats they had, especially after snapping this photo:

The next morning we were up bright and early with Clara so we went for a walk and happened upon this little gem: (had to take a pic for Nan)

Then we got the baby ready and drove into Palm Springs for some shopping! BB OOTD: (She dazzles in fruits)

We found her a pair of those Baby Hipster sunglasses but she hated even though they were evvverything.

Then I breastfed her in the back alley of sus lunch spot we tried because there was shade. You can take the girl out of Spokane but apparently you can’t take Spokane out of the girl.

I also had to try on the spandex bike shorts that everyone is wearing these days.

Hahahaaa jk I just wanted to take a pic in them as a joke to send to my immediate family. All I need is a pair of those hideous chunky Filas.

The next day we went to the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert! Baby girl wore her finest jellies.

JK these lasted .002 seconds before being promptly discarded.

The zoo was amazing! Especially…

The giraffes!

The petting zoo portion because GOATS.

And these amazing rainbow chairs that we snapped this adorable pic with:

On one of our last days, we decided to go to J.Tree and the weather was perfection.

Don’t freak, David was holding her in this pic.

And I was holding her in this one…

The flight home also went very well. We did the exact same thing as we did on the way there, except instead of pre-boarding we waited until literally THE LAST second to get on the plane. That way, we did not have to sit for 40 minutes while everyone else found their seat and baby got restless. It worked out way better for us that way and she slept most of the way home once again, in my arms. Bliss.

The whole thing really. Was bliss.

Baby Faves – 9 Month Edition

9 months have gone by since I made a human and successfully expelled her from my body.

She has been out as long as she was in.

Why does life have to suck so hard? Why is time a thing? Clara getting older is basically the pits. I mean, what’s next? Walking? Driving a car? College? Binge watching Fleabag with me?

So far, we are doing pretty good. Exhibit A: Everyone is still alive. Exhibit B: Everyone is pretty darn happy.

Here are the things that have been helpful along the way!

  1. SwaddleDesigns zzZipMe Sack

Clara has always done well in some kind of sleep sack. We used this one during the warmer summer months and it worked perfectly for us. The ones from SwaddleDesigns are great quality, super soft and always feature some kind of zipper cover. This one is in the Bella pattern.

This style from SwaddleDesigns is part of their Cozy collection in the Color Puff Circle style, the color is Very Berry. We used this one on colder days or when we had the AC up really high.

2. Activity Table/Cube

Clara is absolutely gaga (haha get it, she’s a baby) over these little activity centers. At first, I would sit behind her so she was propped up, as she played with the toys on the side. Then, she could sit up on her own and could navigate around it by crawling. Now, she is full-on pulling herself up and playing with the components on the top. As you can see in the pic, homegirl is a fan. We paid $10 for this one on Offer Up, but it is the brand B Toys from Target and can be found here brand new.

Our neighbors gave us this little number recently, which she can easily pull herself up to and whack all the buttons. It has a bunch of different “modes” like learning, music, spanish, etc. Mostly we just love the funny songs it plays and yes, I have them all memorized. Similar versions can be found here.

*Yes she has a bruise on her forehead. She was playing with the door hinge and lost her balance. Subsequently, I cried and debated hitting my own head on the door hinge as self-punishment.

3. Lil Mixins  Egg Powder

I know the words “egg powder” are not the most appetizing, but this stuff is pretty awesome. Around a certain point, (according to our pediatrician) some babies need to start trying foods that they might develop a common allergy to. Usually eggs and nuts. We had previously tried to feed her tiny bits of actual cooked egg and she was NOT having it. Lil Mixins makes it easy to introduce these foods into a babies diet by turning them into a powder. In addition to the egg powder, they also do a peanut and tree nut powder.  We have done both the egg and peanut, by mixing in one scoop with literally anything. We have tried it with oatmeal, rice cereal and peas and Clara has gobbled it all down. She is not the best eater at this point, so I am happy that we are able to get these foods into her without much of a fight.

4. Wooden Blocks and Cardboard Boxes

Yep, she is a typical baby who also just enjoys the simple things. We have a small pile of wooden blocks too and she loves to hold one in each hand and bang them together or on any surface. She also likes it when we make a little block tower so she can knock it over. Mind boggling I know.

5. Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel

So, right. It’s baby wash. Nothing ground-breaking here but I just LOVE the way it smells.

And that is all! Please leave a comment below if you have recommendations for the following products: baby shoes (like the soft-soled moccasin kind), or LONG baby pants. I have a tall baby.