Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lactivists, (L)activate!

[Hahahaha.  I'm chuckling over my title.  Heheheh...]

Just a quick post tonight - wanted to pass on two links to a set of blog posts I found interesting!

I've been interested in breastfeeding rights, promotion, cultural acceptance, etc. (A REAL SHOCKER, I KNOW), long before I actually started breastfeeding (I blame it on my Mom - thanks Mom!)  I'm very interested in helping to promote breastfeeding without being divisive or judgmental; without blame or guilt and WITH compassion, support and understanding.

So, as a "breastfeeding advocate", these two posts piqued my interest.

Top 10 Things Breastfeeding Advocates SHOULD Say

Top 10 Things Breastfeeding Advocates should STOP saying

I think the author does a great job capturing the positive, supportive spirit that we should offer women - ANY woman - who may want to breastfeed, those who aren't sure if they can/want to, those who want more information about breastfeeding, and even for those women who don't end up breastfeeding (whether it be by choice or whether they are physically unable to do so).

Take a look!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

She Could Have Been Famous

You know those viral you tube videos of babies laughing?  Like, this one or this one?

Well, we totally missed our chance with Eliza.  We had our chance - she did it once, she laughed like those babies - HYSTERICALLY, sooo cutely, for like two minutes straight... and we didn't have a video camera.

Here's what happened.  It was back in October, Eliza was 11 months old.  We went to visit a litter of 12 week old kittens (my parents were choosing two new future furbabies out of this litter).  There were about six kittens running around the house, but when we got there they all bolted and hid under the furniture (scaredy cats!).  So, we all sat down on the floor, Eliza on my lap, and we grabbed some cat toys - the fishing-pole type that have feathers, string or glittery tinsel at the end of the string - cats go NUTS over these things.  Anyway, one by one, the kittens started to come out from hiding.  They were shy at first, but once they saw the toys flying around, their little kitten brains couldn't resist and they started pouncing.  They were jumping up, one after the other, flying through the air, smacking into each other in mid-air, etc... sort of like this, only faster and there were six of them all going at once.  It was hilarious.  Even the adults couldn't stop laughing!

So, Eliza watches this unfold and at first is really interested and smiley.  And then as soon as they started jumping up like little jumping beans, she started laughing SO HARD, and did. not. stop. for like two minutes straight!  I mean, it was a serious belly laugh.  It was so funny - we had never, ever, heard her laugh like that or for that long.  My parents and I just looked at each other and laughed - we couldn't believe the sounds coming out of this girl!

Alas, we missed it.  No video camera handy, not even a camera.  I swear to you, if we had gotten that on video, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have gone viral on you tube.  I suppose I *might* be a bit biased, but really - seriously, it was just as funny and cute as those videos I referenced above.

So, here's a tip: if your baby is going to be in the presence of adorable, tiny baby animals, don't be like me and forget the video camera, people!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sappy Sunday

This girl makes me smile every day.  She is so sweet and so caring.  She loves her family, her dolls, her stuffed animals, her kitties... she gives kisses and tells us she loves us.  She makes silly faces and throws her head back and laughs and laughs. She loves to be tickled, and always says "again!" when you stop.  She loves her friends and asks to see them by name ("isey!" "eddie!" "vi!" "audie!").  She is such a little love.  

She is a happy, happy girl, and I do not know what I would do without her.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

How big is Eliza?

My baby girl is a big girl!

Weight: 29 lbs 3 ozs (95th percentile)
Height: 34" (97th percentile)

Our wonderful pediatric nurse practitioner said she is "the picture of health".

She is happy and healthy.  We are so lucky.

What more could we ask for?  Nothing!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Total Randomness

  • Tomorrow morning Eliza has her 18 month check-up.  She is starting to understand about going to the doctor.  We've talked about it a bit and she has this book at Grandma and Grandpa's house, which talks about going to the doctor.  Also, she came to the doctor with me on Monday and saw my doctor look in my ears, my mouth, listen to my heart, etc.  We thought it would be a good idea for her to see that so she doesn't think that SHE is the only one who has to go to the doctor!  Oh, and I have a sinus infection.  Blah.  I guess after having a cold for 2 weeks straight, it's not that surprising...
  • Need a new blog to read (I know, I know, you probably don't, but hear me out)?  I've been reading Amalah since Eliza was born, but not sure if I've talked about it here.  Amy Storch writes it and she is hilarious.  She's a mom of two boys and due with another baby boy in a couple of weeks.  I adore her humor and her writing style, and she is the perfect combination of tender and sarcastic.  And I love the way she uses exclamation points and caps lock, heheh.  I sorta-kinda want to be her - or, at least, be able to write like her.  So if you're looking for a laugh, check her out.
  • I'm thinking about getting a peace pole for my front garden.  Anyone ever heard of or seen one?  It's a large pole that you put in the ground - many people put them in their gardens or in their front lawns, or at local community or religious centers - and on each side, the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" is translated into different languages.  There are quite a few in the city I live in, but none in my neighborhood.  It's something I've been thinking of for a while and every time I see one I am reminded how much I want one.  I'd probably get the four-sided cedar pole.  You can choose the four languages you'd like on it, and I noticed today that one of the "languages" you can choose is animal paw prints!  Cute.  I think I would choose English, Spanish, Hmong... and I am honestly considering the paw prints :)
  • Eliza is definitely saying "love you!" to us now.  She said it to Andy this morning as he was leaving for work.  It just melts my heart!
  • Hubby and I found this great little play kitchen on sale at Tar.get the other day for only $30, so we snatched it up immediately.  It's small, wooden and just so sweet.  And hard to beat that price!  We haven't set it up for Eliza yet, and we're thinking we probably won't until she's closer to two.  Maybe it will be a birthday gift...?  Or, we'll at least wait until later this fall when the weather gets cold and we're forced back inside to play (nooo!!!!).
  • And finally, this video cracks me up:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Terrific Tuesday

Eliza and I had such a fun day today.

We started with baby story time.  First we went for a walk near the bookstore and grabbed a latte (well, mama did).  Eliza enjoyed walking next to me; we're working on teaching her to hold hands when we're walking near the street, crossing the street, or walking in a parking lot.  We've stolen the idea from friends and are calling it the "Parking Lot Rule".  It's actually working so far - she knows what that means and is getting better about holding our hands (previously she would wiggle her hand away).

Eliza loved baby story time today.  She even sat all by herself.  She usually sits on my lap, but today she just sat down and when I asked her if she wanted to sit on mama's lap, she said "no".  Ha!

This afternoon after lunch we made a quick run to The Almighty Tar.get.  Dangit!  I forgot bubbles.  Oh, the sadness.

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the backyard.  Well, I alternated between playing and gardening.  Eliza played on her slide and with the new/used plastic car we got her at the thrift store.  It's one like this, except without the creepy face on it.  It was only $12, and we didn't have to assemble it ourselves - score!  I prepared some containers for planting, weeded my tomato bed and discovered that I have a lot of wonderful, rich compost for my garden (isn't composting amazing?).  I put it on my tomato bed so now it's ready to be planted.  Hoping to go to the nursery and get that done tomorrow.

Eliza seemed to be ready to go inside after about an hour, so we picked some rhubarb and headed in the house to make rhubarb cake.  I have a good recipe from my mom and we have all this rhubarb on the side of our house, so I finally thought to plan ahead and get the ingredients to make it.  At first I thought I'd bring some toys into the kitchen for Eliza to keep her occupied while I baked, but then the thought came to me that she's probably ready to help me, or at least be involved in what's going on.  So I brought a chair into the kitchen and set up the mixer on the counter right in front of it.  She watched intently while I chopped the rhubarb, then I gave her the sugar to pour over it.  I would hand her the measuring cup filled with flour or sugar or whatever, and she knew just what to do.  She loved it!  When I turned on the mixer, she just smiled and stared into the bowl.  It was so fun.  Towards the end, when the batter was done, she stuck her finger in and got a taste of it.  OH BOY, her eyes just lit up and she was henceforth an unstoppable batter-eating monster.  Ha!  I guess she is definitely my daughter!  I could barely stop her from plunging her entire fist into the bowl, she was a woman on a mission.  I finally got the bowl away from her, and instead I did give her the spatula to lick.  How could I say no when I was right there licking the beater??? ;)

I love summer vacation!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

18 Months

Eliza, you are 18 months old!  I know, I can't believe it, either.

You are changing every day, in fact, sometimes I come home after being gone for a few hours and say "you grew while I was gone!".  Your hair has grown longer and your feet are getting bigger (size 7!!), and you are getting very tall - taller than some of your friends who are older than you are, in fact.  We will find out on Thursday how tall you are and how much you weigh.

Your vocabulary is growing rapidly.  You say: mama, dada, nana, pop pop (but you only whisper pop pop!), yes, no, belle (your kitty's name), thank you, off, on, down, up ("uppa"), mole (you like to point out all of mama's moles), omelet, egg,  ball, fish, blueberry, cheese, bee, help, ow, and just this week I think you said "I love you" to me!  We were coming out of Byerly's and you were being goofy and cute and I told you that I loved you and you said it right back and then gave me a hug.  It brought tears to my eyes; you are such a sweet love.

You are becoming more independent, and you are happy to play on your own for a little while each day.  It's so sweet to watch you when you think I'm not watching you.  When I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner, I peek around the corner at you playing pretend with your baby dolls, or playing with your Duplos, or reading a book.  It absolutely melts my heart!  You also want to show your independence by trying to dress yourself.  You can almost do it.  It frustrates you when you have trouble doing something by yourself, but you know to ask for help ("ep!") when you need it.

You have excellent manners!  You say/sign "please" when you want something, and most of the time you say/sign "thank you" - unprompted!  It is sooooo sweet.  It's hard not to give you everything you want when you are so polite about asking ;)  But, that's our job as parents, so sometimes even when you ask nicely, we still have to say no.  Especially when you want to dig something out of the trash.

Speaking of the trash... you are quite the little helper!  You love helping mama and dada by picking things up for us and bringing them places.  You're super handy to have around, heheh.  You know where all of the trash cans are in the house and will throw things away for us.  You seem to enjoy helping out, so we always try to find little jobs for you to do.

You love the outdoors.  Now that it's finally spring, we play outside whenever it is nice out.  You like to go down your little slide in the backyard and just run run run around.  You also know when you want to go back inside and you tell us by walking up to the door and saying "in!".

You are a climber, my dear girl!  You MUST climb on anything and everything you can find.  The couch, the coffee table, chairs, everything!

Eliza, you are so very very intelligent, it is absolutely amazing.  The other day, daddy couldn't find his flashlight and he looked down at you and asked "Eliza have you seen the flashlight?".  You walked right over to your walker/push cart thingy, and there it was!  You grabbed it and brought it to him.  You knew just where it was, and we hadn't seen it in days.

You used the potty for the first time on Saturday!  It was just you and dada (mama was sleeping in!).  You were having some diaper-free time (you looooove to be naked) when he saw two little drops of something on the carpet.  You pointed to them and said "toot!" - apparently this is what you say when you have to pee (?).  So dada said "do you want to go use the potty, Eliza?" and so you both went into the bathroom.  You lifted up the seat of your potty, sat down and peed!  Then you pointed to the toilet paper and so daddy gave you two pieces and you actually wiped.  What a smart girl.  Then, you stood up, shut the lid of the potty, and walked out of the bathroom.  Daddy said it was as though you do that every day, you were so nonchalant about the whole thing!

You play pretend and it is sooooo adorable.  You put your baby dolls to bed, you feed them, and you nurse them.  You also pretended to stir soup this morning with grandma and then slurp it up into your mouth with a big ladle.

You have brought your family so much joy over the past 18 months.  You have a happy, sweet spirit that brightens our days.  You fill our arms and our hearts.  I love you more every day.

Friday, May 13, 2011


So is it just me or did anyone else's blog get a little wonky after blogger was down yesterday and today?  Comments from a couple of my recent posts are missing (which is so sad to me - I love comments!!!) and now my post from Wednesday is at the top of the page and is incorrectly dated.  Weird.

Anywho, I finally got through all my old posts and labeled most of them.  I added a label "cloud" on the right column so you can click on a label and see all relevant posts.  I am also going to work on updating my  sidebar photos and info.  I'm finished with my semester (WOOHOOOO!!!), so I finally have a little extra time on my hands.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.  I'm working on Eliza's 18 month post, though it probably won't be up by tomorrow.  I'm kind of behind on photos and remembering all the wonderful things she's been up to lately.  Oh, the mommy guilt.

She is A YEAR AND A HALF tomorrow!  How in the world did that happen?

(At Jamba Juice)

Wordless Wednesday: Playground Antics

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bringing Eliza Home

(I'm getting my blog cleaned up a bit and labeling each of my posts.  I found this draft of my TTC/RPL journey and thought I would post it for those who are interested in my history with RPL... now it can be found using my handy new labels!)

January 2004 - got married

May 2008 - ditched the BC, started charting in prep for TTC

July 25, 2008 - first try, 1st BFP! Betas double normally, we are thrilled! Naively happy and pregnant, so I start this blog!

September 5-7, 2008 - @ 9wks, CNM can't find heart tones w/doppler, u/s shows no fetal heart movement, 1st m/c, D&C.

October 2008 - thrombophilia labs come back showing I have a homozygous MTHFR gene mutation. Homocysteine levels are normal, so perinatologist says mutation is "of no clinical significance" and shouldn't affect a pgcy. Just to be safe, peri puts me on daily regimen of 4mg folic acid, B complex and baby aspirin.

November 20, 2008 - 2nd BFP.

November 28, 2008 - start spotting; blood work shows progesterone level 10.8, beta is 32.

December 1, 2008 - 2nd beta comes back at only 20; 2nd m/c ("chemical pgcy"), referred to an RE.

December 18, 2008 - RE says since we've "only had two m/c's", we should continue to try on our own, though she thinks there could be a "slight annovulatory issue" and offers clomid as an option (immediate reaction = wtf?). RE also insists I cannot pinpoint O with charting and says she doubts I had even been O'ing (um...isn't getting PG twice enough proof?). I say "FU" to stupid RE, decide to get 2nd opinion.

January 2009 - TTC on our own, this time using progesterone supplements (Crinone 8% gel) post-O.

January 18, 2009 - 3rd BFP.

January 28, 2009 - I get nervous, so at 21 dpo have 1st beta which comes back negative (less than 2); 3rd m/c ("chemical pgcy").  Confusion, hopelessness, sobbing ensues.

February 6, 2009 - HSG comes back all clear!

February 17, 2009 - consult visit w/new RE/perinatology clinic, met with genetic counselor, both DH and I found to have normal karyotypes.

February 27, 2009 - 4th BFP!  1st beta @ 14dpo: 296, second beta @ 17dpo: 1126, third beta @ 19dpo: 2565, fourth beta @ 21dpo: 5599

March 17th, 2009! - u/s shows beautiful hb, yolk sac and bean! Measuring perfectly, at 6w4d. We have a little baby growing!!!

March 29, 2009 - heard hb with the doppler at home, at 8w2d!

April 27th, 2009 - NT scan shows nuchal fold of 1.64mm, chance of down's: 1 in 2,500. Berry is looking great!

June 12, 2009 - IT'S A GIRL! Berry is healthy and growing right on schedule. We are so thankful!

November 14, 2009 - Our miracle, Eliza Margaret, is born at 7:16am, weighing 8 lbs 5 ozs, 20" long. Apgars of 9 and 9. She is perfect. We are complete.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nursing a Toddler, or, Nursing as a Contact Sport

"Extended breastfeeding", or, just plain old "nursing a toddler" sure is a hot topic these days.  Why, you ask?  Well, I'm not quite sure... but opinions and insults are flung back and forth in the blogosphere between those mommies who "parent-wean", and those who "child-wean".  Basically, do you decide to actively take steps to wean your baby at the common, culturally/socially/what-have-you 12 month mark (or at some other point, maybe before or after 12 months)?  Or do you go off the res and continue to breastfeed until baby weans his or her self? That is, until they just don't show much interest and stop asking to nurse, or, they are just too busy, or they find comfort in other things (if they were ever a comfort nurser which not all babies are), etc., which could happen anytime up to about age... 20?  Haha, I'm just kidding.  The average natural weaning age for humans has been shown to be anywhere between 2 and 7 years of age (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2008).  I think, however, that the term "extended breastfeeding" applies to nursing beyond 12 months.  Of course there are shades of grey here, and it's not an all-or-nothing (all parent or all baby-led) situation by any means, but that's the gist.

Anyway, it's a hot topic.  If you don't believe me, go google it and you will find yourself in the middle of a tornado of controversy, complete with lots of unfortunate flaming between mommy bloggers.  It's sad.  Don't get me started on mommy bloggers and flaming.  Can't we all just get along?

We are nearing the 18 month mark with our dear Eliza, and nursing is still her #1 favorite hobby.  Heheh.  Okay I might be exaggerating.  But seriously?  This girl is downright giddy about nursing.

So what's it like?  I was just asked about this by a friend and school colleague the other day who also had a baby in grad school (yes, it wasn't just me!), and it got me thinking about how different it is than nursing a teeny baby.

Overall, BFing a toddler has been and is so much fun.  Eliza really understands what's going on and how to ask for milk, and is starting to "play" somewhat at the breast, which is so so cute.  For example, she'll pop off and look up at me and make a face, and then pop back on, or she'll pop off and go run around the room for 30 seconds and then climb back in my lap and continue to nurse.  I love it, and I'm happy to oblige her in her games - most of the time, at least :)  She also has started to nurse her baby dolls as well as bring her baby dolls to me and ask me to nurse them (this is the cutest - she makes a little sucking sound when she does it too!).  She has gotten so polite lately that she now signs "milk", and then "please", and even "thank you" when she's done (not all the time, but often).

Of course there are definitely some things I miss about nursing my teeny tiny baby.  For one, nursing a toddler HURTS a lot more!  Eliza's nursing has become very physical; she kicks her legs and flails her arms around and boy is that girl STRONG.  Also, she has picked up the bad habit of pinching and grabbing at things with her free hand when she is nursing (favorite target these days is mama's other nipple.  Seriously??).  Also, her latch has gotten really lazy.  Gone are the days of the text book open mouth "fish lips" latch.  Her latch is so haphazard now, she just does whatever works.  She will often just feel around with her mouth until she finds what she thinks is probably the nipple, and then just SUCKS IN really hard.  Because, you know, as long as it's in the VICINITY, she'll get it into her mouth if she sucks hard enough, right?  OUCH!!!  Thankfully, I've gotten used to this and it doesn't hurt anymore.

We've been through a lot - rough patches of biting due to teething, biting for fun, times when she wanted to nurse pretty much every hour all day and wanted nothing to do with food, times when she would only nurse at nap and bedtime and put down a ton of food that day.  I've just tried to go with the flow and follow her lead.  Eliza was/is a baby who loved nursing very much.  She has continued to show interest in nursing, and she shows no signs of slowing.  We've nursed "on demand" since day one and the demand just hasn't slowed down.  So, here we are!

I wanted to write about nursing a toddler because I know there are probably lots of moms doing it and lots of moms who are thinking of doing it, but don't know much about it because it is still considered taboo in our mainstream culture.  I love it, and Eliza loves it, so we continue to do it.  If one of us started hating it, we'd stop.  So, do what works for you.  Don't let other people or society or our culture pressure you to either continue breastfeeding or to wean your baby before you are ready.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

What a day!  Breakfast out with my two favorite people, followed by a quick trip to the zoo.  Then mama got to go to the mall by myself to do some shopping (a rarity, indeed!).  And although it was a frustrating shopping trip (nothing fit quite right, in and out of the fitting rooms multiple times, wacky/inconsistent sizing, general body frustrations), I managed to come out with a few tops and two pair of shorts for the summer.  It was amazing how quickly I can zip in and out of stores and fitting rooms without a certain sweet little girl in tow ;)  Not to mention getting in and out of the car.  Later we went to my parents' house for dinner to celebrate with my wonderful and awesome mama. Eliza enjoyed dancing around the house naked for a while and charming her grandma and grandpa and uncle and aunt.

It was a great day, and just another reminder of how lucky I am to have a beautiful, healthy, sweet daughter AND a mom who is my best friend.  I count my blessings every day.

Wishing you all a happy Mother's Day - to those of you who are celebrating today with a new baby (Emmy, Adrienne, Jess, Alyssa, Stacey!), it's an extra special day, I know :)  And to all those women still struggling on your journey - I am thinking of you today, remembering how hard it is to be in your shoes, especially on this day.  There should be a day to recognize you and everything that you've been through.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oh, Snap!

I am way too excited about this, so you all can laugh at me, but I just picked up my new-and-improved BumGenius one-size all-in-ones, now with snaps!  No more velcro for our cloth diapers - yay!  I had the velcro taken off and the BG snaps put in instead.  Take a look!

While I do now recommend to any newbie CD users that they generally avoid aplix/velcro in general (especially in OS dipes), I will say that I did like the velcro for a few reasons:

  • I liked the adjustability; it was infinite and allowed for a really nice fit, which was especially nice when Eliza was a bitty thing.
  • Even though the velcro eventually started to fail, it did take quite a looong time - I mean, we used those 11 diapers for about 16 months straight (we moved her into these dipes - the one sized ones, that is - when she was about 2 months; they just didn't fit right before then.  Once she reached about 11 or 12 lbs, I found they were perfect, but before that they were just too big and we had a little trouble with leaks).  So, overall, given that they got continual use and went through the wash probably hundreds of times, the velcro actually held up fairly well, considering.
  • Recently, Eliza figured out that - hey! - these diapers come off if I pull this tab!  COOL (no, no, not cool).
The reasons that I am glad to have snaps are many, but that last point right there is really enough of an argument for me. 

The cost was $3.50 per diaper, so it was $38.50 total for 11 dipes, or, about the cost of two new diapers.  What it gave me was a greatly extended life of those 11 diapers (and rainbow colored snaps on the white ones, teehee!), so it was definitely worth the price.  Do I wish I would have just bought the OS with snaps in the first place?  Yes.  But, I did buy them at a discounted price on eBay (I think BG discontinued the velcro OS AIO line soon after?), so financially speaking, it worked out.

If anyone would like the info of the woman who converted them for me, let me know and I'll send you her email address.

Eliza's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 5 ozs
Going home: 7 lbs 10 ozs
5 days: 7 lbs 13 ozs
2 months: 12 lbs 6 ozs
4 months: 17 lbs
5 months: 18 lbs 12 ozs
6 months: 20 lbs 13 ozs
9 months: 24 lbs 3 ozs
12 months: 26 lbs 13 ozs
15 months: 28 lbs
18 months: 29 lbs 3 ozs
2 years: 32 lbs
3 years: 34 lbs

Alice's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 11 oz
2 Months: 13 lbs 10 oz
4 Months: 17 lbs 15 oz
6 Months: 20 lbs 4 oz