Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"House Wrens" in their new home.

A few years ago, I bought a ceramic decorative birdhouse for my deck & I had always hoped some little bird would make a home out of it.
Well I finally got my wish - yesterday I saw a pair of small brown birds making their nest inside the little birdhouse. They have a beautiful chirp too. I looked them up on and figured out they are House Wrens. Looks like the male & female stay together. One builds the nest while the other chirps for hours outside the birdhouse (letting the other know the coast is clear maybe?)

They are doing what we all strive for in life - to have a happy & safe home to raise a family in.

They are a little skiddish of me yet - but I did manage to get a blurry picture b/c it's from far away - here is a picture of the birdhouse & the wrens below. They are pretty little birds!
Sadly I can't put a feeder out for them - we had to stop feeding the birds 5 years ago when we had bears coming on our deck to rip down the feeders. It's a shame because I loved feeding the birds, it's a fun & relaxing hobby. We had several feeders up until the bears moved in. I had identified over 30 bird breeds that came to eat here before we had to remove all the feeders...

p.s. Yes my deck needs to be re-stained. Maybe this summer's project LOL.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moms (or Dads) that don't have time to cook

I will start off by saying that I don't like to cook. I don't like to follow complicated recipes and I don't like to spend hours in the kitchen cooking... Who has that time? Not me!

One thing really appeals to me for feeding my family - I love the idea of making casseroles & freezing them. So I tried to find a nice easy solution after we had the baby ...

I found some recipes that I wanted to share in case anyone else out there wants to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with their family!

"Make Ahead Recipes" (Frozen Casserole Recipes)

"Five Ingredient Casseroles"

Here are 2 of my favorite recipes that I have made already - both got 5 star reviews from my husband!

"Chicken Potato Casserole"

"Red & White Tortellini"
(I added cooked chopped meat & onions to this recipe - it was excellent!)


Suggestion - If you are going to make several casseroles ahead of time, I recommend buying disposable "freezer to oven" containers so you can portion out (and label) your meals ahead of time before freezing them. For instance, it is just me & my husband, so there is no need to make a casserole for us in a 13x9 pan... some of it will go to waste.

Happy Preparing! Feel free to share any "Easy" recipes you might like too!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Your life is over when you have a baby"

Having a baby was a wonderful and amazing time in my life. The excitement of being pregnant, and becoming a mother was something I could have never imagined...

Before & during my pregnancy, I can't tell you how many times I heard this phrase: "Your life is over once you have kids" ... and I can't tell you how aggravating that phrase is and how much it really made me want to prove it wrong.
Just like before I got married, I heard the phrase: "Once you get married, your life is over" - Hmmm, I am married to my best friend and my life is really incredible with my husband... it gets better every day. So I guess whoever said that was in a bad marriage perhaps?!

Yes, you completely give up "normalcy" once the baby is born. This can be a very difficult adjustment to make. Taking care of a baby is an enormous adjustment - at least for me it is! I never was around babies and never had to take care of a newborn before... it is a huge learning experience. Some days, it feels as though my whole world has been turned upside down as I adjust my daily life to fit my baby's needs. Eventually, I know I'll get some of my own life rhythm back.

Julianna is 5 weeks old and I am finally getting the hang of getting out the house & doing things with her. I'm also getting the hang of adjusting 'my time' around her needs... that was the hardest thing for me, since I was always used to doing what I wanted, when I wanted it before. For years, I never wanted to have a baby because I could admit I was too 'greedy' & couldn't imagine making sacrifices for a baby (at least I can admit it!).

Being a parent is hard and it is a daily struggle to try and get things right (or at least what seems right) - and sometimes, it is downright hard. I know not everyone goes through this, or maybe they do? I know this is kind of like the taboo subject that no one likes to talk about because no one wants to admit they are scared or not always happy after the baby is home. It doesn't instantly mean I have postpartum depression - so let's not jump on that bandwagon OK? Some days I feel so happy & on top of the world ... Some days I feel very alone & overwhelmed. I do know this is normal for first time mothers, and as you adjust, every day gets easier & feels more like the "normal" I am looking for.

I am determined not to fall victim to the "Your life is over when you have kids" doubters.
I do have some great inspiration - My very good friend Katee always manages to still live her life even though she has kids. (She has 2 now with a 3rd on the way). With her first born Bianca (my god daughter), we went to Niagara Falls when she was 2 months old. She doesn't ever use her kids as an excuse to not do something. So, when I have a fear of doing something with Julianna, or I'm not sure what to do, one of the first things I ask myself is "What would Katee do?" ... It helps when you have friends that can give you positive guidance and positive opinions. I have another very good friend Carol, that has 2 daughters, who also gives me the best advice in the world as well! Never once have they told me my life will be over once I have kids. It is possible to live your life and have kids, they are proof of it. I know I have other friends that fit that model too, but those are 2 'friend' mothers that I look up to for 'kid' advice :)

When I look at Julianna and hold her, I can't imagine my life without her. Nothing makes me happier than to hold her and love her... and in no way do I ever wish I didn't have her. All I am saying is how this whole experience has changed my life in ways I never imagined, and I am confident that I can still have a "life" & have a baby! Oh and by the way, my dog still gets plenty of love too! Thank you to my friends (for their advice & support) for getting me through this confusing & sometimes overwhelming time!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some things I could & couldn't do without ...

OK so ... when you are pregnant, everyone tells you things (baby gear!) you will need for the baby, and things you don't need, and things you think you need but will never use.

Here is my 'opinion' on some things I like & don't like for the baby - And it's just what I said it is, my opinion. I know everyone has their own favorite things they like and things they don't like for their babies. Maybe you can share some in the comments??

Things we bought, that I couldn't live without, for Julianna -

1. Diaper Genie - Yes, I know most people cringe at that word, but I love mine. I couldn't imagine not having it!

2. Dr. Browns Spinning Drying rack - Oh my gosh- just the best thing when you are washing bottles and need to let them air dry - and it folds up & goes right in your cabinet for storage.

3. Dr. Browns bottles - No I am not getting paid to 'push' Dr. Browns products, but I will tell you - she doesn't have alot of gas with these bottles, and everyone I talk to that uses them loves them too.

4. Receiving blankets- lot's of them. We use them all the time to swaddle her... I thought we had too many but no way! We use them daily. Swaddling is under-rated. She loves it and it soothes her! Swaddle away!

5. Activity Gym - Love it! What else can I say?! It sparks her interest longer than anything else right now. It's a winner in my book.

6. Sleep Sheep - It makes 4 different white noise sounds, on a timer, and you can hang it on her crib (where it can't be reached by baby), and it's a cute sheep as well. The minute I put that on, she falls asleep. Babies are used to hearing white noise in the womb, and I read a white noise machine was worth the buy - and whoever said that was right on!!

7. Boppy Pillow - An essential for any mom! Makes life so much easier!

8. Video Monitor - Nothing like being able to be in another part of the house and watch what your baby is doing in her crib... it gives you nice peace of mind!

9. Vaseline - We were told by the hospital to use vaseline for every diaper change - it creates a safe barrier between the diaper and baby's butt. So far, it has worked great- no rash or redness - and it makes it super easy to clean & wipe off any mess.

10. Binkies. Need I say more?! Julianna loves her binky. So do we, because she takes it so easily and it puts her to sleep or soothes her when we need it to.

11. Moby Sling - If anyone has never used it or doesn't know what it is- check it out. It's worth it's weight in gold. Julianna loves when I put her in it and 'wear' her. It's great for bonding time, and still be able to have your hands free to do other things.

12. "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD (or book)... and BabyWise book. Again, I know there are a multitude of opinions on these subjects, but both have brought us much happiness by following their guidelines so far.

Things we bought, that I could totally do without, for Julianna -

1. Diaper caddy - It sounded like a great idea at the time, but it's not like I need to keep a stash of diapers & wipes in the caddy in the West Wing of our mansion. We change her diaper in her room every time (if you saw my teeny house, you would understand why the caddy is totally not needed! lol)

2. Baby Oil - Um, do I really need to oil my baby up to make her slippery?? Not sure what I can use it for really. I use lotion for after-bath.

3. Angel Monitor - luckily a friend of mine loaned this to us, and I did not shell out the $100 for it. We set it up and it gave us many many false alarms - the alarm went off, saying she wasn't breathing, and I walked in more than once to her breathing just fine even while the alarm was still going off. I feel like we are better off without it on - no need to have that thing scare us to death all the time. We turned it off for good on the 4th night she was home. I read online in almost every review, that everyone had too many false alarms. I don't need that kind of headache. I know some like it, but it's not for us.

4. Tshirts - We bought so many of them thinking she would be sleeping in them but all they do is bunch up & ride up her back... and they're a pain to keep straight. I have about 20 t-shirts that we'll never use!

5. Socks- No matter how hard you try- you can't get any socks to stay on a newborn. Good thing it's summer and her piggies don't get cold now!

6. Bouncy Seat - Yes, I know some swear by this little vibrating seat - but Julianna just does not like it and I pretty much do not put her in it any more. She tolerates it for about 2 minutes then she lets us know her time is up!

7. Crib Bumpers - I know everyone has their own opinion on whether a crib should be bumper-free or not. Yeh they are a waste of money- but looked so cute in the package. In order to change the sheets, you have to remove the bumper, and lift the mattress out... it's easily a 30 minute project to do this and get it set back up - Who has that time?! Since they match her theme, I am leaving the bumper on for now - until she can move around enough to make it a suffocation hazard.

8. Bottle Warmer - No need(for us). She takes her bottle at room temperature just like she did from day one in the hospital... the nurses all told us don't warm it, since that is what she's already used to. And you know what, she has no issues eating and doesn't know anything else.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ode to Super-Dad

There is a special breed of man out there - I call them Super-Dad.
I never knew Super-Dad existed until we had a baby, Brian, is absolutely a Super-Dad!
This is a little late for Fathers Day, but at least it's still in the same month, right?
Everyone might have their own definition of what Super-Dad is... and here is mine.


He comes home from work and gets his little girl up from her nap, changes her diaper, and then feeds her ... and then proceeds to snuggle with her with lots of smiles & happiness in his protective daddy arms.

He wakes up in the middle of the night when he hears her making noise, and goes to her crib and gives her a binky or swaddles her up when she is fussy.

He enjoys feeding her and changing her diaper, even at 3am!

He talks about, with a dreamy smile, all the things he is going to teach her about in her lifetime.

He enjoys soothing her when she is crying. He is the swaddle-master.

He takes over the child duties at night even after a long day at work, and it lets mom relax, or cook dinner, or go run errands.

He loves tummy-time; that means putting the baby on his tummy while he lays on the sofa... and they spend time bonding.

He loves doing everything he possibly can to take care of the baby and make sure his wife is happy too! The love for his family is very evident. No sacrifice is too big. A happy family makes for a happy baby!

He can multi-task on a Saturday or Sunday morning; He drinks coffee, feeds the baby, and snuggles with the dog at the same time, all while watching the Today show!

He has no problem with the color pink.

He has no problem carrying the Giraffe diaper bag around with him in public.

Ode to Super-Dad... Yes my husband Brian is Super-Dad.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Fisher Price Activity Gym bought from Craigslist - $10

Batteries to make the Fisher Price Birdie light up and make noises - $5

Watching Julianna lay on the activity mat, while she's making happy noises & batting at the toys with her hands - PRICELESS

Random thoughts for Thursday

Just a few things to mention ...

1. Julianna is doing well (regarding the first post). We got her back on her Similac Sensitive formula and her belly is just fine. Long story, but we switched formulas and that's what messed up her stomach so we are back on the Sensitive formula and she is doing great! She has responded well to this one since day one. We are sticking with it. Thanks for all your advice & luckily she is just fine now! :)

2. I can not believe I have 10 followers already - How exciting is that?! That makes me very happy to see - I'll keep blogging away in hopes to get even more followers!

3. Kudos to the Yankees for winning a very ugly game last night against the train-wreck Arizona Diamondbacks. They also managed to pick up a whole game on everyone else in the AL East. Best record in baseball.

4. Yes I lost all my pregnancy weight... but why does nothing fit?! This has to be some kind of cruel joke, right? Guess I got a lot more work ahead of me!

5. Bath time might be the coolest part of the day for Julianna (and us). It's so much fun to bathe her before bedtime, and she loves it. Right now just 2x a week... We then finish off with a nice Johnson's "Bedtime bath" lotion. She does 'sleep like a baby' after that...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

24 hours

One note here. "My husband" has asked me to call him something else other than that (I guess it sounds a bit formal) - so his name is Brian as you all know.
This blog entry is not for the faint of heart... this one might be a bit yucky, but hopefully makes some other mothers (or non-mothers) snicker.

As I was sitting there at 4am cleaning Julianna's projectile puke off me ... I couldn't help but think "This day has got to get better, right?"
My worst fear came true, and I lived to tell about it. I hate "bodily fluids"! I really do. (My friends can attest to that!). It's one of the few things I was dreading once I had the baby, I get 'yucked' out way too easily. So far, to my amazement, I am actually able to deal quite well with spit up, snot sucking, poop, pee, eye goobers, and all the other fun stuff.

Well... let me back up - the last 24 hours have been fun. Brian came home yesterday, I was in tears, then this morning began with The Puking Incident.

Yesterday Julianna was fussy from the get-go. She wouldn't nap, and was very screamy all day. This is new to me, as she has been a very good baby so far! I tried all the normal 'soothing' stuff... and her feeding schedule was off too, I am sure that was it, and then she just couldn't get herself to fall asleep. Pepper, my dog, was hiding in the bedroom all day.

At the height of the screaming, she spit up on her onsie she was wearing (she never spits up! it figures!) - so I went to change her onsie, and changed her diaper too. As I am changing her diaper, the poop explosion started. Oh yeh- lot's of laughs! All you moms know what I am talking about! So I went through a couple diapers, and waited for her to finish. She was done, or so I thought! I picked up her legs to put the 3rd clean diaper under her... and as I picked up her back end, I then heard the NOISE. It was the loud noise of what I now call, "The Poop Fountain". It exploded and came out like a water fountain, yep, just like that!! Picture the arch of the water from a water fountain (the one you drink from!). It came out with such force, and took me by such surprise that I didn't have time to defend myself. It was all over her changing table pad, the dresser, my hands, the floor (yes, it went that far!) and then her foot broke free, and she dunked her foot right in it. Lovely. Then she started to cry again. That's right about the time I started to cry!
I had to put her in the crib so I could put an emergency load of "HOT water" wash in to get all the poop off! I was also able to finally calm her down by using the "Happiest baby on the block" technique... thank you Dr. Harvey Karp! I highly recommend it to anyone with a baby or knows anyone with a baby. It works.

Oh did I mention I was trying to assemble some casseroles all day so I could freeze them for dinner later this month? Well, since that was abruptly stopped with me attending to Julianna all day, my kitchen looked like a food bomb hit it. I was right in the middle of mixing the ingredients and had everything out on the counter, where it stayed until Brian got home. He then took over baby duties all night, and gave me the breather I so needed. Thank god for hubby.

OK so once Brian got home and saved the day, and I got a good cry in ... I was ok for the night. Julianna slept from the time brian got home until this morning (with the exception of waking her to feed her a few times). She exhausted herself from being up all day.
I got up to feed her at 4am (she slept from 11pm, when brian fed her, to 4am). She got 3/4 of the way through her bottle ... and then I sat her up to burp her... and out came the projectile puking. Yep, that was a joy at 4am, it was all over me, the boppy pillow, and the floor. Somehow she managed to stay clean. I got up and threw my clothes in hamper, looked at her, and there she was peering up at me with those beautiful blue eyes and giving me the "baby bird" mouth wanting more food. I could swear, for a split second, that she was laughing at me. Maybe it was just my sleepy mind imagining it.

So that brings me to this morning... Julianna is sleeping peacefully. I got up, and looked out my back window... and the fog was lifting, the sun was shining through the trees - and it made me smile, and realize that today is a NEW DAY and it can only get better. Well it's time to go wake the little bug and kiss her perfect face, and feed her...

Enjoy your day, and let it be puke & 'poop fountain' free!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I am a "first time mother" at the age of 39. I am a "first time mother" with so many thoughts in my head, and so many things to say... hopefully friends, family & strangers will care to read.

My husband and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Julianna Belle, into the world on May 23rd of this year & she is the love of our life! She weighed 7 lbs, 10 oz. She is 4 weeks old and has already turned our world completely upside down. I've learned so much from this little 9 pound human. I have never been more anxious, overwhelmed, excited, and happy at the same time! It's a roller-coaster of emotions every day - and here I thought all those heightened emotions ended when the pregnancy was over. Well, it doesn't. It has only just begun!

Up until the age of 37, I never really thought having a baby was for me. I saw other people with kids and it scared me. OK, actually, it terrified me! Over the years, I saw some unhappy people in unhappy marriages that seemed to project their misery on their children & everyone around them. I, of course, thought that would happen to me if I chose to have a baby. So why mess with my nice little happy life? What changed me??

The love I have for my husband is what changed me. The amazing relationship we have, changed me. He really wanted to have kids, and finally I stopped thinking about myself, and stopped being selfish... and I started thinking about what kind of parents we would make, and what kind of love we have to offer a child, and how great it would be to create this human that would have both of us in him/her. I always knew my husband would make an incredible father, since he is the most caring & loving person I know. We made the decision, and it sure did work out. It might be the best decision we ever made. And yes, we are actually getting sleep at night!

Yes I am thrilled to have Julianna - but no, I do not want another (for all of you thinking it!). I do not want to go to my kid's high school graduation riding the nursing home bus, showing up in a wheelchair! LOL!

Things I have discovered since becoming a first time mom...

  1. Everyone around you gets soooo excited about your first baby!
  2. It annoys me when people feel it is necessary to 'warn' me of all the horrible things that might await us. Especially when the sentence starts with "Just wait until..."
  3. There are no words to describe the happiness I feel inside when I look at her little angelic face.
  4. Poop & Pee make for a great marital conversation.
  5. Multitasking "squared" becomes the norm! i.e. Rocking a fussy baby in one hand & cleaning up dog puke with the other hand!
  6. Sleep "IS" possible at night when your husband does 50% of everything (diapers, feedings, soothing, baby snuggling, cleaning, cooking, and still being a husband)
  7. My husband is even a more amazing father than I imagined he would be!
  8. Snuggling with my baby instantly fixes anything that is wrong in my world.
  9. Going to the store is no longer easy or quick.
  10. 9 pounds of crying, squirming, wiggling baby scares me more than anything else in my 39 years ever did - and she knows it!
  11. Love is easy. Knowing how to soothe a crying baby is hard!
  12. It is possible to go out to dinner with the baby and live to tell about it.
  13. Babies don't come with manuals. (Why not?!? Someone ought to change that!)
  14. Everyone has an opinion on how I should raise my baby.
  15. You do become immune to smelly, poopy diapers.
  16. The louder the burp, the happier I am!
  17. Before I had a baby, I never could fully appreciate how hard parenthood could be.
  18. Before I had a baby, I never could fully appreciate how rewarding parenthood could be.
  19. The snot sucker is over rated.
  20. Of course my baby is the cutest baby ever!

That's all for now. I'll write more soon enough!


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