Saturday, August 29, 2009

An Exclusive Club

I debated and debated with myself on whether to write this post, but I figured since most of the people reading are probably women that I'd go ahead and do it. So if you aren't prepared to learn a bit more about being a mom than you'd like, then stop here. But I already talked about poop so how bad can it be? Right?


When I had Sweet P, I began the initiation process into the exclusive club that is motherhood. You might be thinking, Oh gimme a break, how hard is it to get into the motherhood club? Well, labor is hard enough. That is the second test in the initiation process. Because we all know morning sickness and heaving around all that extra weight is the first test. (And if you only gained 10 lbs, I don't want to hear it.) But this week, I definitely completed the initiation process. I am so in.

Growing up my mom used to tell us about a certain issue that happens after you have a baby. Now I know there are a LOT of issues that happen after you have a baby, but I wasn't quite prepared for this one. In fact, I wasn't sure my mom was even telling the truth (sorry, mom).

I also thought that since it hadn't happened yet, that it wouldn't. Wrong-o.

Wednesday night I was at a fitness instructor meeting and was asked to talk a bit about the jump rope class I'll be teaching. So there I was, doing my thing. Explaining the different ways you can jump rope and going through the jumps when it happened. Out of nowhere. I mean, I didn't even have time to prepare for it. No warning.

I suddenly thought of my mom and all the times we laughed at her when she made this statement (sorry again, mom). And even though I was in a room full of women who have one or multiple children, I couldn't bring myself to tell them, "I just peed my pants."

Thank the good Lord, I was wearing black pants.

Friday, August 28, 2009

On Sunday Morning


Clearly, I am not near as on top of this as my husband. I haven't even sent out an email with the blog URL so right now I'm just writing to myself, I guess. It is Sunday morning and Heath is at the farm (so expect a blog entry from him tonight) so I am home alone. I just finished cleaning the house (Heath helped for awhile, but then I could see how badly he was "itching" (pun intended) to go to the farm so I let him go), for those of you who know what a neat freak I am this should not come as a surprise. While we live in a small, two bedroom apartment, it took me 2.5 hours. And that was with Heath's help!
To catch you up on a few things we did this weekend:
1. Friday I attended a CPR/First Aid class should the chance come that I get a fitness based job. It's probably something most people should do and it was a review since I've had it before so it wasn't too bad. I was, however, the youngest person in the room by at least 10 years and one of two females. The other female left after lunch so there I was with 7 middle-aged men and up. At least the instructor was a female that looked about my age. It wasn't half bad and I learned a lot. I even learned about Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac. Interesting seeing as how my husband had acquired a posion ivy rash the day before.

2. Friday evening Heath and I went to watch a local artist play at a coffee shop called Ritual Cafe. He was pretty good, his name is Chad Elliot and it was folk music. And they had pretty good coffee. They had vegetarian fare, but Heath and I are trying to eat at home more often so we ate before we came. We did eat a vegan peanut butter cookie. It was a little different, but not half bad.

3. Saturday morning we took our regular trip to the Farmer's Market. We have decided to make this a tradition and make a list of what we need before we go. Our purchases yesterday include: Kettle corn (made right there with a kettle), granola (the best ever from Big Sky bakery), sweet corn, watermelon, peppers (5 for a dollar!), okra (not sure how this will pan out) and Heath found some tomatoes and onions while I was getting my breakfast burrito. Heath had another Pupusa and we also bought a bouquet of fresh flowers. We spent about 2 hours walking around (there were more vendors yesterday) before heading home.

4. Saturday afternoon we decided to try a different Aspen (the gym we belong to) and went to one a few miles away. It was definitely older and the weight room was in what I'm guessing it a basement. It was huge, but smelled funny and there were at least 8 tennis courts (all indoor!). While working out we were doing ab exercises where your partner throws a weighted ball at you and you crunch from side to side. Here is the exchange that occurred while it was my turn to do the crunching:
Me: 2 more
(After two more, I sat up) Heath: Are you done?
Me: Yes (but for some reason I brought my hands up because I thought he was going to throw it again, but I brought them back down). Bad idea.
BONK! Heath threw the ball again, but I think he had an idea that he was doing the wrong thing, because it didn't feel like it had as much force behind it, BUT it hit me smack in the head before Heath grabbed and threw it to the ground.
Heath: ARE YOU OKAY?!
I was fine, just a little dazed for a minute, but at least it wasn't that heavy. It was only an 8 lb ball and he didn't throw it very hard. Embarassing? Yes.
After we left the gym we drove out to Gray's Lake to run. We ran/walked for about 45 minutes while we people watched. Walking the lake is perhaps one of the best people watching places there is. There are a lot of people with dogs in Des Moines and a lot of people who like to work out. There also seems to be a large amount of people with weiner dogs and Heath loves them.

5. After our run we came home to grab dinner and shower before going to church. We decided to try something different that we'd found online called Downtown Church. It was interesting, but the congregation may have been a bit young for us. It was in an old building with folding chairs and there was a screen and instruments for the band at the front. The music was great, but I think we felt a little bit too old to go back. We were hoping for a young crowd, but maybe we're older than we think. :) We had ice cream at a place called Van Dee's afterward. Des Moines has several malt shop/ice cream places. We have been to two. One is called Snookie's, the other Van Dee's. Heath had a caramel sundae and I had a dip cone that was dipped in a Krunch Kote, but tasted like butterfinger, it was AWESOME! They also but little sugar eyeballs on your ice cream. Weird, but also pretty funny.

6. The last thing I'll post for today is how often Heath and I play Boggle. I believe the reason we play so much is this: Heath can't beat me. :) So we are often playing "rematches" so that he can try. It's a lot of fun, he's even decided that he should have a handicap when we play. I'll keep you posted on whether he starts winning. :) I have to relish in the fact that I win, because it's one of the only games at which I am capable of beating him.

I have a second interview for a job tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Mother's Doodie (Duty)

This is for all you mom to be's out there. (And if you think it's gross to talk about poop, then you probably shouldn't read this or change a diaper.)

I'm sure that you already know that your child will poop. A lot. And they'll probably stick their foot in it when you reach for the wipes. Usually it's NBD (no big deal). The thing you may not know is that it can and WILL happen at the most inconvenient of times.

Like right when the airplane takes off. Or in the car when you're in the middle of nowhere. Or in the parking lot of Sam's. Or during the transition to the next diaper.

Ok, you're thinking. Whatev lady, those are NBD. You're right. They aren't. Until while you are on the airplane it begins to seep out of the diaper and onto your pants. Or when you're in the car and it gets all over the carseat (you're in the middle of nowhere, remember?). Or when you're in the Sam's parking lot and you grab the wipes to find there is only ONE left. ONE, what am I supposed to do with this mess with ONE wipe?! (Don't worry, I made do.) And the transition poop is only an issue if a) you are in a hurry or b) you forgot to put down a diaper pad (which you should never, EVER do).

Just a warning to be prepared. Always. I will not be leaving this house with only one wipe ever again.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Confessions of a Farmer's Wife

I have a confession to make.

I don't do any work on the farm. Umm, I don't even go to the farm unless we have visitors in town. There. I said it. Whew. I feel better.

Obviously I have a small reason why I don't do much work out there. But this blog is about why I almost didn't move to Iowa. (There is an adaptation of this story on the farmer's blog, Pirate Tick).

Until moving here, I had only seen a tick in a picture. My husband's picture. Of a tick the size of a quarter he pulled off Jake (the farm dog, who just moved to Georgia). When I found out there were ticks in Iowa, I suddenly no longer wanted to move here. I shudder even now. So, of course, every time I visit the farm, I am greeted by one of my favorite Iowa natives. They usually wait to say hello until we are on our way home. Camped out on the leg of my jeans, crawling down my back, hanging out under my watch on my wrist.

Jake's Tick


Ew.

And the best part about my relationship with ticks since moving to Iowa. My husband comes home with them attached to his body. That means they are latched on, people! LATCHED ON!

He asked me to burn one off one time, until he realized I might do more damage than necessary and took the lighter away. Because if you didn't know, you can't just pull a tick off that is latched on. It's head will stay latched on to your skin. I think I just threw up a little. They also get attached to his shirts and hang out in our laundry basket. One morning as I was upside down drying my hair, I saw one crawl across the floor. I scooped up Sweet P (who was in a baby chair nowhere near the tick, but I wasn't taking any chances) and put her on the bed while I grabbed a tissue and flushed him down the toilet.

The worst part? We don't even live on the farm, yet. So yes, there you have it.
I know.
It's hard to believe I am the Farmer's Wife.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fare Days at the Iowa State Fair


On Friday, my little family went to the 2009 Iowa State Fair. If you are unfamiliar with the fair (which I was before I moved here), it is the biggest in the nation. It was showcased on the Today's Show on Thursday. I know this because my mom texted me to tell me (we don't have cable or bunny ears, even though that doesn't work anymore). We chose Friday as our fair day because next week is going to be a bit hectic and no one wants to go to the fair on the weekend.

Unfortunately, we probably chose the hottest day to go to the fair. This is probably not a problem for most people, but I am burning up in a 70 degree apartment so it wasn't the best situation for me and several times throughout our fair day I let me annoyance be known. It just happened to be at the expense of my dear husband. Usually, I am okay with large crowds, but for some reason the large amount of people wanting to sneak a peek at the butter cow and butter TV put me over the edge. That and the fact that the building we were in didn't have air conditioning, just fans blowing around. Was it that hot last year?

Besides me complaining about how hot I was, this blog is how to have a cheap fare fair day! We tried, but we definitely could have done better. Here's how:

Buy your tickets in advance. Tickets are sold in advance at HyVee, Dahl's, Fareway, participating True Value stores and online at www.iowastatefair.org. Advance tickets are sold until the day before the fair starts. You can save $3 on adult tickets ($7 instead of $10) and $1 on children's tickets ($3 instead of $4). We failed to pre-buy our tickets this year.

Look for free parking. This usually means you need to get to the fair before 8am. If you can't find free parking, look for those who allow you to park in their yard for a small fee. We found a steal for $3 in a yard behind an elementary school. Last year we got there early enough to park for free. That wasn't the case this year. Going anywhere with a 3 month old always takes longer than you think.

Once inside, look for vendors giving out free food. Yes, I said people are giving away free food. Right when we walked in we saw the "Free Ice Cream of the Day" vendor giving out M&M ice cream on a stick! So not only was it free, it was also on stick! Which is what the Iowa State Fair prides itself on. Stuff you can eat on a stick. They even have salad on a stick, but I don't know anyone who goes to a fair to eat salad. Pffft. We definitely got one. Okay, we got two. But we did wait until we were leaving to get the 2nd one. I wanted something "sweet" on a stick as we were leaving and said "Okay, I'll take another one." Why not?! We also saw a vendor giving away free pizza, but they had an empty tray when we saw them and we didn't want to wait.

Don't ride the rides. Ha. Impossible with a child over the age of 3, but until they are old enough to even care to look at the rides--you don't have to ride them. I'm not too sure how safe fair rides are so my kid may never ride them, however, if it was up to her father he'd say differently. I was rude this year and wouldn't even go look at the rides on the Midway. I know, how mean. It was hot! Remember?

Stock up your house with free junk from the Varied Industry building. Actually, this year they were giving away fans at most stands which was very much appreciated in the heat. We got two. Mainly because I lost the first one. I think it fell off the stroller which means I littered. That makes me feel bad, but that's what the fair clean up crew is paid for right?

Look for the free shows. There are many big name concerts during fair week. Stephen Curtis Chapman and Kelly Clarkson were here this year (to name a few, and no they didn't play together). But instead of paying for a show, find a stage where a band you've never heard of is playing. Hey, it's live music and it's free. And if it's good, it was worth it.

Split items of food with your loved ones. That way, you can still feel like you "ate good" at the fair. Who are you kidding? Anyway, nobody really needs a foot long corn dog, do they? But we don't eat corn dogs, so our first items besides the ice cream were a mozzarella Crescenti (fried bread with cheese in the middle) and a snow cone. We also had kettle corn and our priciest item was the fried cheese curds, but they were so worth it!

And if you're not big on fair food, you can always pack your own lunch which I saw several people do along the way. Most of these people had small children which makes me totally understand this concept. You'd be bankrupt before you left if every time someone was hungry you bought something.

Our total weighed in at appx. $37.00. $20 of that was to get in so I'd say $17 on food isn't half bad.

Vive la Iowa State Fair!

Supposed to be...

I'm supposed to be working. Or at least working on something. Like vacuuming, or washing the bedspread, or cleaning the bathrooms. But instead, while my baby sleeps, I am surfing the net. I think that is a funny saying "surfing the net." And while I am usually remorseful for having filled my day with the internet rather than cleaning my house or doing something else productive while the baby sleeps, today I am not.

Today I got to see a beautiful face. One that I could have only seen via the internet because that is the only way I know Stephanie Clark Nielson. If you are unfamiliar with Nie Nie and her story, you can read it here: nieniedialogues.com. Her story is both sad and beautiful. She is a strong, brave woman with a beautiful spirit and a light that shines so bright. Reading her blog makes me want to be a better mom, a better woman, a better human. She has made a difference in so many lives just by being. If you haven't read her blog, I encourage you to. It will make you cry, it will make you laugh, it will make you fall in love with her and her family.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Crabby Patty

My husband is a huge Sponge Bob fan. Or at least he was long enough for us to have the 2nd and 3rd season on DVD. So it seems only fitting that when Sweet P is fussy she gets called "Crabby Patty." For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sponge Bob, there is not a character named "Crabby Patty." It is the delicious sandwich served at the Crusty Crab, the restaurant where Sponge Bob works. I'm still not convinced that Sponge Bob is a show for children, but it can't hurt calling her "Crabby Patty" when she is being just that. CRABBY.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I will do so now. My daughter sleeps at least 9 hours a night. There. I said it. Please don't be jealous. You don't have to be, because I am about to tell you why she does it.

I was walking one day with my dear friend K and her daughter (who is 3 weeks older than Sweet P). I was telling her that Sweet P does okay (Fine, I'll admit it was better than okay) with sleeping. She was sleeping about 5 to 7 hours (which is better than okay) and waking up to feed and then going back down and once more before waking up for good. K then told me her daughter sleeps between 10-12 hours a night. Um, excuse me? Did you just say your newborn sleeps 10-12 hours a night?

I was nervous at first, to say the least. But then she told me how. Her daughter slept in a sleep sack, except she kept her arms inside the sack. I didn't have a sleep sack small enough for Sweet P, but I did have a fleece SwaddleMe blanket that hadn't been used, yet. Up to this point (this was around the time she was 9 weeks old, she is now 14 weeks) I had been swaddling her, but leaving her arms out because she didn't seem to like them in the swaddle. She was also completely out of the swaddle in the morning because she was getting strong enough to kick and punch out my swaddle job.


That night I tried out the SwaddleMe blanket. We put her to bed around 9:45 and when I woke up at 5am I checked her because I was a little freaked out, but she was still asleep (and breathing!). She slept until 8:15am. I was hooked, we do not sleep (or go anywhere) without the SwaddleMe. Sweet P goes to bed about 9pm and wakes up for the first time between 6 and 7am. She will feed and go back down for 1-2 more hours. Some nights she will sleep longer, others a bit shorter, but she does not sleep less than 8 hours a night. Therefore, I cannot complain about lack of sleep.

I am sharing this with you because if you have a newborn, swaddle them!!! I don't care if they don't like their arms swaddled. Mine didn't either. Now, when she's fussy before bedtime, we put her in the swaddle and she knows it's time for bed. She might still fuss a bit once she's in it, but it seems to calm her down a little. If you don't have a newborn, buy this for someone you know who has a newborn! The SwaddleMe blankets come in both fleece and cotton. We have fleece because it was given to us as a gift so she doesn't sleep in pajamas, just the blanket. It also gets pretty cold around here in the winter, so I'm pretty sure the fleece will come in handy. I can tell you are still skeptical, but at least give it a try. And if the worst thing that happens is that your baby sleeps 9 hours, I'll tell my friend K you said thank you.

Edit: I should also mention that Sweet P gets in at least 6 feedings during the day and has enough meat on her bones to sustain her through the night. Smaller babies may still need to feed throughout the night and there are also babies that need that night time feeding. However, I still suggest trying it out once you feel comfortable with your baby sleeping through the night.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Love at First Flight

NOTE: This is a long post.

As I mentioned in my previous post we recently returned from a trip visiting Gammy and Auntie Rosita during which my 3 month old and I survived not 1, but 2 plane flights. I was reeeeeeally nervous about flying with her for a few reasons.

1) I have so been that rude person that rolls their eyes at screaming babies on airplanes hoping that they will please, please, please be quiet. I thought for sure I was done for on this trip with my own child.

2) Sweet P is not so fond of sitting. She very much enjoys it when you are standing, walking, bouncing, etc. Not so much while you are sitting.

And
3) Sweet P had not pooed (is that a real word?) neither the day before, nor on the 3 hour ride to the airport. (Don't worry, we don't live in some remote city, Southwest just doesn't fly in and out of Des Moines).

So when the Farmer dropped us off at the KC Airport I was pretty scared. I had learned a few tricks of the trade because I did what every smart 21st century mom would and googled for tips on flying with an infant. Some of them I went with, others I left behind. I absolutely did NOT want to lug my infant seat around the airport. Have you seen pictures of my infant? Have you heard me say she weighs over 15 pounds? Have you carried her up more than one flight of stairs in the infant seat? Yeah, so was not taking it on the plane or gate checking it. I also didn't want to check it because I'm not sure if you've flown in past ten years, but have you seen what they do to your luggage? Um yeah, not checking the infant seat that would need to be in one piece once I reached my destination. My mom decided to buy one and that solved my problem. Thanks, mom. You have no idea how much trouble that saved me.

Some of the information I already knew, like to nurse on the way up and down. Other info I had never really thought about, such as how there is no where to change a baby on an airplane. Let me rephrase that, there is no where that anyone would want to change a baby on an airplane. One post I read said "Do not change your baby on an airplane unless your life depends on it." Well said. I also realized I should take as little as possible with me because I'd also be carrying her.

So here's how the flight there went.

This is what I had with me: a duffle bag (I was returning it to my mom, but realized I better pack an additional duffle bag inside of it because I'd probably be bringing stuff back), a suitcase, a diaper bag, sling and Sweet P. I got to the ticket counter and gave them my ID and Sweet P's birth certificate. At first, I thought the birth cert. was only to prove she was under 2 years old, but the more I thought about it, I realized they probably wanted to make sure it was in fact my baby and I wasn't trying to smuggle her across state lines. The KC airport set up is really, for lack of a better word, dumb.

Once I got to security, I quickly pulled her out the sling, pulled off the sling and took off my shoes. This process actually went really smoothly. I didn't even try to keep her on to go through the x-ray I figured they'd make me take it off anyway. Changing her in the bathroom made it easy to just put the sling back on. One complaint I have about Southwest is that they do family boarding between the A and B boarding groups. That means 60 people get on before those with small children. Anyone who flies Southwest knows that all the single flyers end up sitting one to a row when they get on leaving no room for families to sit together. This doesn't really matter now because it was just us two, but it might bother me down the line when I'd like to sit with her and the Farmer. I also hoped to sit toward the front which didn't happen either because all the A's sat at the front leaving the middle seat open between them. The middle seat is not the best position for a lady with a baby. I know, I know, I should have just gotten an A boarding pass, but both times I ended up with B (and I checked in at home!).

I truly think she would have slept the entire flight had the flight attendant not asked me to take her off for take off and landing. Can someone please explain why it is better for me to hold her in my hands rather than have her tightly against my body. I don't get it. Of course when I took off the sling she woke up. I nursed her during take off and as soon as we were in the air-BOOM. Poo. Lots of poo. Lots and lots of poo. And no where to change her. The poor kid had to sit in her poo for the entire flight, but luckily there were no leaks and I changed her as soon as we got off. I also nursed during the landing and she was really only fussy at the end of the flight. Hallelujah.

Hey Ya'll, I'm on an airplane!

The return flight had a stop so we were on the plane for 4 hours. While she wasn't ever full blown crying, this was not the ideal situation. Again, she pooed as soon as we took off (must've been the change in air pressure) and so I had to wait until we stopped before I could change her. This time, however, it started to leak out of her diaper. Besides being utterly disgusting, it was not a life threatening situation so I did what any good mom would do and wrapped a burp cloth around her. I ended up changing her on the 2 seats next to me before the 2nd leg of passengers got on. A wonderful grandma sat next to us on our 2nd leg. She actually WANTED to sit by us! We were fortunate to have a seat between us that flight and could spread out a bit more. Again, she was really only fussy on the landings, which I think was mostly due to her ears.

So what did I learn? Take a diaper bag with a lot of pockets. You don't need a bunch of books or toys because at 3 months old she is most content staring at your face or the person sitting next to you. The magazine in the back of the seat in front of you was a great way to keep her occupied. Here is what was in my diaper bag:
One bib; one burp cloth; one toy (which I didn't get out); nursing cover; one blanket; one book (that I didn't need); your wallet; your baby's birth certificate; 10-15 diapers; an entire package of wipes; Wet Ones; a baggy with children's Tylenol, chapstick, antibacterial gel, bandaids, fingernail file and kleenex; a camera; 2 onesies; changing pad; and a snack for me. I bought water once I was past security.

Other things to include: Sweet P doesn't take a paci, but if your baby does you want to bring that. Also, a bottle with whatever formula you need. This type of liquid is okay through security and they shouldn't make you pour it out. If they do, they are wrong. The only other thing I might bring would be a scarf or something for myself if the flight was going to be cold.

FYI: They no longer have blankets or pillows on Soutwest due to the Swine Flu.

And lastly, don't try to set your baby on the tray table by any means because a flight attendant will come around, tell you to get the baby off the table and then put the table up.