Monday, January 28, 2013

6 Months

Bowen :: Six Months Old

Weight: 18 lbs 1 oz (50th percentile.) He's still wearing 3-6 mo clothes and 6 mo sleepers. Since he's not mobile yet, we're talking some serious chub. 

Eats: He's dropped a feeding so he's down to 4 bottles of 7 oz each. He is absolutely loving solid foods - he eats oatmeal, fruit and a veggie twice a day. Loves everything except, as we've established, peas.

Sleeps: Sleeps at night in the crib from 7:00/7:30 to 7:00/7:30. (WOOHOO!) Man, it was great when he dropped the 5:30 am feeding. 3 naps - mostly in the crib, but occasionally in the carseat or swing. He consistently wakes up around 30-40 minutes and has to cry/whimper/babble himself back to sleep but then he'll stay asleep for another hour plus after that. I guess the 45 minute intruder never goes away? (Does it?)

Hair: Blonde and so fuzzy! Tonight after his bath, I finger combed it into a little mohawk. Matt was not amused. 

Eyes: Blue - here to stay? (I guess at some point I can eliminate some of these categories…)

Nicknames: Bo, Bowie, Biscuit, Biskie, The Biskers, Kiddo Biscuit

Milestones: He sits! He can sit unsupported for awhile and play with a toy - a whole new perspective on the world! He grabs, reaches and passes toys back and forth. A little bit of babbling started this month - when he's excited, he'll say "da da da da da!" He's soooo close to rolling over - he'll get all the way up on his side - but then flops right back to his back. He has officially mastered sucking his thumb. I'm not sure if this is a true milestone, but it surely took coordination to go from nomming on the whole hand to figure out how to pop that thumb in his mouth.

Likes: Mangoes, bananas, sweet potatoes and a hearty bowl of oatmeal. Bouncing in his exersaucer, watching Buddy, splashing in the bath, pulling hair, mommy-baby yoga class, his Skwish toy, crunching an empty water bottle in his hands, Ellie the Crinkly Elephant (toy), looking at himself in the mirror, grabbing Mom's iPhone when she's not fast enough to get it out of reach.

Dislikes: peas, getting dressed, hitting his head on the crib rail when he's wiggling around, being carried like a baby, being overtired. 

I can't believe a half year has gone by! It both seems like the time has flown by and at the same time, that it was a lifetime ago that Bo wasn't a part of our family. This month, his personality has just exploded. He giggles, he babbles, he screams with excitement. He loves watching other babies at mom-baby yoga and at our playgroup. I'm savoring this sweet spot right now where he's able to entertain himself for a few minutes with a toy (or laying under the mirror on his activity gym), but he's not mobile yet… I can actually walk away for a minute and come back to find him in the same place. He's great at independent play, but his face absolutely lights up whenever anyone talks or sings to him. He loves being in the exersaucer - although it cracks me up that he generally expresses this through screams of delight. He's become so curious in the last month. When I'm holding him on one hip, he's usually trying to dive across my body to reach whatever I'm holding in the other hand - water bottle, coke can, basket of laundry, phone - whatever it is, he wants to be holding it too. The last couple weeks he's been touchy in the mid-afternoon, and I can't figure out if he's on the verge of teeth or a cold. Yet even in the midst of his smushed up pouty face, he's still adorable to me. This half year has been more fun and more rewarding than I would have ever imagined. It sort of blows my mind that in the same amount of time to come, he'll be rolling, crawling, standing and maybe even walking… and good heavens, I don't know if I'm ready for that. But I know Bo is - this boy wants to explore his little world so badly. What a fun month it has been with you, Baby Bo. You are sweet, you are silly, you are social - and we couldn't love you more.

Happy 6 months, little boy!

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Sunday, January 27, 2013


For a lot of people, January is a month of fresh starts and resolutions. For us, January has felt like a month to catch our breath and settle down. The last 6 months were… busy, to say the least. We had a baby, and that fact alone validates that claim. Then we had visitors every month, we traveled, Matt started a new job and before I knew it, the holidays were upon us. The next couple months hold a few more trips, visitors, and some home projects. I have a feeling July will be here before I know it and Bo will be smashing a cake and I’ll be scratching my head wondering where the last year went.

So in January, we took a deep breath. We didn’t have any visitors. We didn’t pack a suitcase. We took a lot of naps, cooked more dinners together and marveled in the every day miracle of watching our little baby learn and grow. It’s been a nice month for our cozy little family.

Some photos from this last month…








Sunday, January 20, 2013

Little Friends

The first few “play dates” I took Bo on it was clear that they were really just for me to chat with other moms. Since all of Bo’s friends here are older than him and he’s still working on some basic life skills such as sitting up, it usually worked out best for play dates to involve strapping kiddos into self-contained rolling vehicles and pushing said vehicles (strollers, in case you weren’t getting this) to Starbucks. 

Until one day, after a walk, Bo and I came in to hang out for a little while with Jamie and Zoey and all of a sudden, I realized my baby was playing. Ok, he wasn’t like building towers out of blocks or popping cakes into an Easy Bake Oven. But it was just amazing to see him engaged and interacting with another kid – he was just completely enthralled to watch Zoey power around her room, delighted by every book, block or baby she brought over to show him.

It is so sweet to see this little friendship budding! I have a feeling these two could be trouble together in a few short months.





Sunday, January 13, 2013

Oh Spring

When it’s 70 degrees in the middle of January, you absolutely must be outside. It’s a rule.

We met Zac, Jamie, Zoey and Gus for a stroll through Reynolda Gardens and Wake’s campus. Days like this make me consider moving a few more latitudes closer to the equator. I am oh so ready for spring to be here.





Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baby Essentials: Months 0-3

Every time I read someone else’s essentials lists, I always get new ideas for “things that save your sanity” so I thought I’d add my own voice to this corner of the blogosphere. Also since this is all the baby book my little cutie is going to get, I thought this would be a fun way to document some of the items that have been our go-to essentials over the last few months. Here’s what we could not live without the first 3 months:

Miracle Blanket

This is definitely our favorite baby item. We tried 3 other types of swaddles – the Aiden + Anais blankets, the SwaddleMe and the Halo SleepSack Swaddles – and Bo broke free of ALL of them. He wouldn’t sleep soundly unless he was swaddled but he was constantly sneaking an arm out and then waking himself up. After a frustrating attempt to re-swaddle him one night at 2 am when my sister was helping, she went on Amazon and bought a miracle blanket. And it really was the miracle that brought sleep to this household. He used it until he started sucking on his thumb, and then I switched back to the SwaddleMe so I could leave a hand out. Soon, we just dropped the swaddle all together and his sleep was fine. But we used the Miracle Blanket for every single nap and sleep for a solid 2.5 months and it was worth every dollar.


Wubba Nub

I had a few friends use these so I registered for them, and I was oh so happy I did. At first I thought I wouldn’t use them until he was old enough to hold on to the animals himself. However one night around 2 am during his first week (sense a theme?), after hunting on the floor in the dark for a paci Bo had spit out and shot across the room, I tore open the package and popped the wubba in and realized immediately what a genius product this is. The little stuffed animal made it heavy enough that when he spit it out, it stayed right on his chest. I could also reach backwards around the car seat and find it to pop back in. Around 2 months, he started holding on to it himself. The wubba was his best friend until suddenly one day, around 4 months, he lost interest in it and preferred to suck his hand. And that was the end of the reign of the wubbas!


Exercise Ball

I chalk it up to 9 months of in-utero dance trance but this baby loooooves motion. A rocking chair wouldn’t cut it to soothe this little guy back to sleep and so early on, I found myself sitting on an exercise ball bouncing, bouncing, bouncing him to sleep. I was a little afraid I’d be doing that for months and wondered how I would bounce a 20 pound baby, but just like everything else, he eventually grew out of needing to bounce to sleep and now the exercise ball hangs out in our playroom for me to work on my postpartum abs. One of these days.

The Swing

Speaking of motion…. I had no idea how much we were going to use this thing. The first week when I nearly lost it at the pediatrician’s describing Bo’s adamant refusal to sleep in a crib – his eyes would pop open the second he felt his back touch the mattress – she encouraged me to try the swing. Two months later, she was encouraging me to try and wean him off the swing. That’s a post for another day (and we were eventually successful), but looking back I don’t regret for a minute that I created a little swing addict. Early on, Bo was napping for 2 hour stretches and quickly hit 6-8 hour stretches at night in the swing. Now that I know it is possible to wean a swing junkie off motion and get them to a crib, I’ll definitely pop baby #2 in the swing if it’s needed. Sleep’s a beautiful thing and this gave us hours and hours of it early on. (Also, I am so happy we bought the one with an ac adapter instead of batteries. I’d guess this thing was turned on an average of 14-16 hours per day.)


Babybjorn Babysitter

Hands free momma, content baby. I wanted a simple bouncer that I could put Bo in when I needed to cook dinner, or do the dishes, or you know… go pee, for Heaven’s sake. He was happy in this from the get-go and once he started grabbing, I added the toy bar to the front and he would sit contentedly in it for a good fifteen minutes. And in baby world, that’s a lifetime. It also folds up flat, the cover comes off to be washed and it’s easy on the eyes unlike most baby paraphenalia. I scored mine on ebay for super cheap, and I’d say it was a worthy investment for future babes. At 5 months, he’ll still sit in it for a few minutes if I need my hands free but prefers the entertainment of the exersaucer or jumper.



Activity Gym

One of my friends lent me her activity gym and I was surprised how early on Bo was happy in it. At first, all he needed was the mirror and he would lay underneath and wiggle wiggle wiggle. I took down most of the toys when I realized he couldn’t see that far, and slowly added them back in as his vision improved and his coordination grew. He didn’t really start grabbing until 4 months, but he was happy to lay on the mat starting at a few weeks. I put a quilt down over it to make it softer and for easier clean up for spits up, and we ended up doing tummy time here most of the time too. We’ve been doing wiggle time for the first hour of our day since he was about 6 weeks old.


Video Monitor

Babies are noisy sleepers. Being able to switch the monitor on and see that those little coos, grunts, and cries were coming from a still asleep baby was a lifesaver. (No cracking the door to check and risk waking him up!) I used it a lot when we were doing some, ahem, “sleep training” to check on him when his cries would just break my heart. It helped a lot to see that he was okay. Now, I just use it to spy on his angelic little self when he’s asleep. My mom calls it her favorite TV channel and I couldn’t agree more. (Jamie and Zac also talked us into upgrading to the one that pans back and forth. Now that he’s moving all over the crib, I understand why!)


K’Tan Carrier

For the sake of full disclosure, I own 3 carriers: the Ergo, a k’tan and a baby bjorn. And I use them all for different purposes. It’s extremely excessive, I know. At first, I only registered for the Ergo. A week or two into Bo’s life, I realized how often baby wearing would allow me to soothe a fussy baby and get stuff done but the Ergo isn’t particularly comfortable for a newborn. After some quick research, I decided to buy the K’tan off ebay as a cloth carrier and I ended up loving it. It’s very easy to put on, Bo seems comfortable in it (even now at 17 lbs), it’s easy to store and it’s washable. (A month ago, I also bought the baby bjorn off ebay but I’ll save that for my 3-6 month essentials post.) I carried him forwarding facing for the first 3 months and then flipped him around to face the world right around his 3 month birthday.


It’s amazing how many of these products he’s already basically outgrown – the swaddle, the wubbanub, and pretty much the babysitter – yet for the first couple months of his life, we used these things every single day! There’s obviously plenty of other day to day items we used, but these were some of our very favorites. It’s a little sad to see him outgrow things, but onwards and upwards! We’re usually putting one item into storage in the attic, just to be buying or retrieving another new item he’s ready for. For being such tiny humans, they sure use a lot of stuff!

(I think I’m supposed to tell you that I was not compensated for any of these items or asked to write them. I bought them all with own my pretty pennies or kind friends loaned them to me. I’ve included Amazon links for easy searching but I don’t get any kickback if you buy them. Disclaimer disclaimer blah blah blah.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012: Year in Review

This is my fourth year filling this out - I did it in 2008, 2009, 2010 and I missed last year. I'm really disappointed I didn't fill it out for 2011 and I was determined not to miss it against this year. (This is where I originally found it.)

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Had a baby. Experienced pregnancy, became a mom. Published a book. (Whoa! It was kind of a big year.)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't usually make new year's resolutions. I do write down my goals for each year… now I just have to remember where I wrote them down to see how I did…

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Besides me?? Hmm..  One of my best friends, Akanksha, welcomed her little girl Ayanna in March. My sister's best friend Christy had a baby 3 weeks after me - our due dates were actually just a few days apart so it was fun being pregnant together with her. My friend Kathryn had her second little boy, West in September. Two of my high school friends, Laura and Kristen, had babies in June and July respectively - both little boys and high school friend Jeff and his wife Anna had a little girl in June also. Residency friend Crystal had baby number two, Elise, in May. My friend Denise had a little boy in January – currently my only local friend with a 2012 baby as Ayanna + Akanksha and Crystal + Elise departed after residency ended. I have also made some wonderful Twitter/blog friends, Jess, Kim and Joanna, who had babies right around the same time as me and I love reading their updates and having someone go through the same stages as Bo and I. Matt’s two cousins both had babies this year, so we have THREE new little ones in the family this year. (His cousin Jamie had a little boy named Trip in October and Heather had a little girl named Piper in June. They are sisters and this is number two for both of them.)

Since that was a completely random brain dump of babies, here’s 2012 in order: January – Denise (Samuel), March – Akanksha (Ayanna), May – Crystal (Elise), June – Anna (Orla), Laura (Nathan), Kim (Henry), Heather (Piper), July – Jess (Cameron), me (Bo), Joanna (Beckett), August – Christy (Maggie), September – Kathryn (West), October – Jamie (Trip). Quite a year for babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year, thankfully. I didn’t fill this out last year but 2011 was a sad year as I said good-bye to both my maternal grandfather and my paternal grandmother, and my husband lost his Papaw. We are thankful this year was a quiet, healthy year for both our families.

5. What countries did you visit?
Chalk it up to being pregnant for half the year and a new mom for half the year, but we certainly did not leave the country. We did travel - it was just all domestic this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Jan 6th - our ultrasound that gave us our first glimpse of our little chicken nugget

May 16th - my 30th birthday - an absolutely amazing day and a great party with friends

July 2nd - Matt's first day of a REAL job

July 28th - my son's birthday! (Obviously.)

August 13th - my due date. It's still so etched in my mind, that sometimes I stutter when asked to fill out his actual birth date.

October 1st - I quit my job.

December 31st – my book showed up on Amazon!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I'm not sure if having a baby counts as an achievement, but it certainly was the biggest event of my year. Second, and probably more technically an "achievement" would be getting my book FINALLY published! A lifelong dream.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Wishing time would move faster in the months leading up to Bo's birth - I was so frustrated with my job, it clouded a lot of the other parts of my life and I wasn't as content in the present as I wish I had been.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No. I had one bout of a GI bug in May that concerned me because I thought it was a colitis flare but it came and went over the course of a weekend. Thankful thankful.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A couple things come to mind: A gift for my husband's end of residency - the last present I will buy him for awhile with money I earned and it was a complete surprise to him. Win! Also, a purse that works as a diaper bag that I love and that does not look like a diaper bag. A pair of my favorite skinny jeans from Loft in my postpartum size despite the fact that I was being stubborn and didn't want to pay full price for pants in a bigger size. I didn't realize how far that would go for my esteem to feel good in a pair of (real) pants postpartum. And lastly, a swing for Bo. Best baby related purchase we made. Maybe one of the best purchases of my life.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My wonderful husband who has now stepped into a new amazing role as a Daddy. Every family member who has slept over at my house in the last 5 months and offered to do an early-morning feeding and give me extra sleep. Friends who showed up with food. I have to admit, I was never really great about making food for friends who had a baby. Never again. I'm on it. Having those freezer meals were my saving grace those first 8 weeks. Friends who answer “is this normal?” texts at all hours of the day/night and mean it when they say “call me anytime. Even in the middle of the night.” (You know who you are.) My mom, who has done everything from middle of the night feeds to weekend long babysitting stints to talking me down from polishing off a whole canister of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups after an especially trying day.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I always hate answering this question but the answer came easily to me this year and I'm not glad for that. I, like probably everyone else, was so horrified by the Newtown shootings. I don't want to dwell on it, because I still can't think about those parents with having to choke back tears. Suffice it to say, I snuggle my baby a little longer each night when I put him down to sleep and thank God that my child is safe in my arms for another day.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Enfamil and Pampers

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My hot dog themed birthday party. Flying out to California for my college roommate's wedding. A trip to the beach with friends. Wino weekends – 3 of them this year. My baby's arrival. Seeing my name pop up on Amazon. Scoring a rocker for the nursery on clearance. Drinking wine again.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? The entire Lumineers album. Matt and I started listening to this on the way to Nashville last December for the bowl game and we haven’t gotten sick of it yet.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder?b) thinner or fatter?c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier. So much more content. b) Let's see, this time last year I was only 2 weeks pregnant… so, I am still fatter than I was this time last year! (Almost there, almost there.) c) I always answered this financially before… and well, I guess in those terms, we are richer. (Hello, real job for the husband!) But, in metaphorical terms, we are also much, much, much richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Prayed. Meditated. Took real photos (not just iPhone photos.) Offered help.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Complained. Judged. Gossiped.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas Eve and day in Lincolnton with my in-laws. My family came to Winston and we celebrated our "Claffey Christmas" the day after Christmas with all of them.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012? Head. Over. Heels. Smitten. Gaga. Crazy.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
How I Met Your Mother, The Mindy Project

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Baby 411, Jane Eyre, The Forgotten Garden, The Happiness Project (I might have read that in 2011, but I really, really loved it.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers (might have also been 2011, but I didn't do this survey then so who knows!), Renee + Jeremy (for Bo), Eric Church

26. What did you want and get?
A healthy baby.

27. What did you want and not get?
Two weeks off from work before the baby came. (He showed up before those 2 weeks even started.) Buddy to sleep all night.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
21 Jump Street. (In fairness, I only saw about 3 films this year… but this one was hilarious.)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
30!!! A big one. Hot dog buffet!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
For Buddy's anxiety to diminish.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Pregnant: Dresses + leggings. Postpartum: Yoga pants + easily washed cotton tops. Now: easily washed cotton tops + jeans. Occasionally blow dried hair. Mascara if we’re really going nuts.

32. What kept you sane?
My husband, gratitude journaling, Heather + Susan at work, long chats with close friends, dance trance, naps

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I want to be BFF with Mindy Kaling.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Being home 24/7 during the elections was nauseating. I don't want to talk about politics. The short and dirty version: the lack of compromise among our elected officials makes me furious. I like Warren Buffet's ideas for how to make the debt disappear. I can’t wait to hear how history retells these years one day when Bo is studying them in his textbook. (Will textbooks exist then? Probably not.)

35. Who did you miss?
My grandparents – I wish they could meet Bo. My coworkers Suze + Heaph after I left work. Friends who live too, too far away.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
This year I am especially thankful for all the friends I have met through the internets. Maybe it's because I've spent a lot of time in my house this second half of the year and sometimes my only connection to adult conversations is the people inside my phone, but I feel really blessed by some of the friendships I've formed through blogging and twitter.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
I was going to make some sarcastic comment about how little sleep I can function on or how to wrap the perfect swaddle but I can’t help it, I have to make some super cliché musing about motherhood. This is what I learned this year: I was always a little nervous to start a family, because all I really knew we would experience was loss: loss of sleep and freedom, loss of consequence-free-hangovers, loss of flat abs, loss of quick weekend getaways, loss of discretionary income, etc. I’ve always known I wanted to have kids. Always. When we decided we were ready to have a baby, I felt really excited but still very apprehensive. The losses were known… the gains were the unknown. Oh my. I had no idea what was in store for us. I don’t know that I can even eloquently put into words what we’ve gained these last 5 months. We had a wonderful, full life but it’s as if someone took our movie and switched it over to HD. We were totally content with the regular channel until we switched to HD – and suddenly we wondered how we ever watched regular cable and thought it was enough. (Did I seriously just use cable TV as a metaphor for life-after-a-baby? Ouch.) Motherhood has just made my already happy life even more colorful and rich than I could have imagined. The loss of sleep, freedom, abs and income – they’re missed, from time to time. But they’re an afterthought most days. I had no idea what was in store for us when we said hello to this little guy. Watching his personality develop and his skills blossom is like watching a miracle unfold. The scary thing about parenthood was that I couldn’t imagine what it would be like. It turns out that the best thing about parenthood was I couldn’t have imagined what it would be like.

Happy 2013, friends. May it be a lovely, rich, happy and healthy year for all of you.