Fugalista: Thrill of the hunt!

Yesterday was opening day for Just Between Friends Tulsa Spring Sale. I've been to four JBF events since November 2009 (two months before Libby's birth) and have always scored awesome deals. Like our gently used Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper for half-off of retail. Or her cute rolling/rocking pony for $10.00. She LOVES that thing! And I've always gone on the final day and snapped up all of the 50% deals, especially on clothing, where I have gotten full outfits for $1.00-3.00/each.

That said, I've never been on opening day with the general public. I did go the first time during the "new moms" time that is opened ahead of the general public. So, yesterday was quite the experience. It was PACKED! And frenetic. There were people pushing strollers full of items while they slung crying babies and toddlers on their hips. There were hugely pregnant women dragging laundry baskets overflowing with baby gear. The check-out line took 1.5 hours!

Armed with $100 bill and my list, I set out on my hunt. I am a major bugetzilla and frugalista. I love bargain shopping and think consignment is the way to go when you're a mom trying to keep up with a growing child! 95% of Libby's things are gently-used. Buying second-hand items are good for mama's wallet and good for mother earth too. I cannot imagine trying to fully outfit the nursery and layette and all of the things we've used in the 13 months of Libby's life if I had to pay full retail price!

I started with the toys and books. I snapped up this classic Fisher-Price Corn Popper Push Toy for $5.

And this awesome set of small, chunky board book ABC blocks for another five bucks. I had wanted to get this for her birthday, but hadn't gotten around to ordering it off of Amazon.

I got a slew of other books too. Libby's favorite things right now are books. She adores them. And we read through the ones she has over-and-over again, several hours a day. She has many of them memorized. She really likes the ones that have photos rather than illustrations and those are hard to find. So I snapped up three of those, including one with a built-in mirror that she can see herself in while she's looking at the pages. I also got two fabric, "quiet" books. One is peek-a-boo with fabric flaps that she can lift to find the characters. The other is a Taggie book, that is great for her to have in her crib.

Next up was clothing and shoes. Libby is wearing a 24 months/2T and her growth has dramatically slowed down since August. For the first half of her life she went up in size in her clothing about every 6-8 weeks! So by summer she was in a size 18 months! In December we moved her up to size 24 months/2 T. Carter's outfits tend to fit her really well and for quite a while, so I bought several cotton knit one-piece rompers and dresses with bloomers. The other thing I appreciate about Carter's is that their styling for babies and toddlers is age-appropriate. I find that many of the other affordable children's clothing lines (where brand-new outfits are $25 or less) are like scaled-down, mini-tween and teen designs. It's sad, really. Libby wears cloth diapers and is on the chunkier side, so she needs things that are roomy and stretchy. And even if she could fit in slimmer designs, I just don't get why babies and toddlers need skinny or boot-cut jeans and tops that look like mirco-versions of things that 18-year-olds wear.

Maybe it's because I am an "older" first-time mom and other moms are closer to being in their teen years than not, especially around here, but I just don't think it's cute at all to let littles dress like they're older. Even my tween niece wants to wear things that I would have worn when I was 16 or 17 years old! I feel like such a fuddy-duddy. I am not prude at all, but what's wrong with little girls looking like little girls? Even the shorts and things that are out now are super short! Like with a 2-inch inseam. And why do toddler's clothes not have fully-elasticized waists. I cannot find one pair of woven or denim bottoms that are full elasticized. So we're sticking with comfy, cotton knits. To each her own, but I think moms who let their little dress like they're older are going to be in a world of hurt once the kids are actually teens. I mean, if she's allowed to wear a bikini bathing suit at age 5 why not at 15? Daisy dukes are cute when you're 3 so why not at 13? I'm just not going to go there. If Libby is anything like her mama, she will develop early. And she won't need any help in the looking-older-than-her-age department.

*stepping off my soap-box*

To round out the spree, I got a darling pair of multi-colored sandals. Libby is really into shoes right now after she played with the corn popper push toy and looked at all her books she just had to try on the sandals! This morning, she wanted to put them on over her footed pajamas. Too cute! So it was $97.12 well-spent. Usually, I got back to JBF on the closing Saturday to get the 50% deals. But I don't think I will this time...even yesterday, her size-range was pretty picked over...probably all of the "early-bird" shoppers (those who volunteer, etc. get first dibs) and I am not interested in getting items that I feel are not really age-appropriate styling. That said, I think she'll be pretty well covered for this Spring and Summer, although I'd still like to find a swim suit. It's so nice to feel confident in her sizing...this time last year I had purchased 6-9 and 9-12 month clothing thinking it would last her through the summer and I was so wrong!

My Little Chickadee has Chicken Pox!

Libby got the Varicella vaccine on the 10th, at her one year pedi appt. Earlier this week she had a low grade temp and runny nose and has been refusing almost all solids for the past 4-5 days. I chalked this up to teething since her molars are right under the gums. And having to go to the babysitter this week since my mom is out, I figured she's just feeling a little "off." Then, on the evening of the 23rd I noticed a few red bumps, including one that was oozing, in her diaper area. We have been treating her for a yeast diaper rash since the pedi appointment and I thought that this little bump might be due to chaffing in the area that is already rashy.

Yesterday, I put her down for a nap and when she woke up 2 hours later she had a red, swollen bump right under her right eye. I put some breast milk on it and in a few hours it was less swollen and looked like a little pimple. Later, during bath time, I noticed she had more pimple-like bumps...one behind her ear, several on her leg where she was injected (behind the knee, on her ankle, etc.). Today when she woke up she had two more bumps...one on her back and another one under her arm. All in all she has like 12-13 of them in random places all over her body.

So today I took her to the After Hours Pediatrician (which is open weekday evenings and all day on the weekends) since her regular pedi is closed on the weekends. The doctor said it could be chicken pox since it's a live, attenuated vaccine that is given. But she was adamant that  it's very rare for children to develop bumps. The statistic is like 5%. She seemed very skeptical.

So I asked her, "Well, what else could it be?"

She said, "Do you have pets?"

I said, "Yes."

She said "It could be bug bites."

I told her that all of our animals are on flea preventatives and that none of them have been itching or scratching and neither me nor my husband have any bites. Not to mention we've just have tempertaures below freezing and thought that it was too cold for flea season to have already started. She didn't say anything after that.

Then I said, "Libby's usually not in daycare but has been this past week and is scheduled to go again this week. Given this situation, should I keep her home or is it safe to send her to the babysitter? She has a four year old and a four month old."

The doctor paused and said, "Well, the four year old has probably been vaccinated but since there's a four month old, she probably shouldn't go..."

So I said, "....so it's probably chicken pox...caused by the vaccine?"

Then the doctor said, "Well, even if it is chicken pox, it's a mild case and there's really not much we can do for it. I can give you a script for some anti-itch cream..."

Arg! This woman simply would not confirm that it is actually chicken pox nor would she admit that it was most likely caused by the vaccine. I am beyond annoyed.

First of all, J asked the nurse at the pedi's office if Libby could get chicken pox from the vaccine and the nurse said no because it wasn't a live virus they were giving her. Well that's false. Secondly, had we known this we would have waited to give her the vaccine, especially since we knew that my mom is out-if-town and therefore we'd be up a creek if Libby couldn't go to the babysitter.

So now, I am taking time off work, J is skipping classes and has resigned himself to take an incomplete on his assignments this week. He doesn't get them until Wednesday and they're due at Noon on Friday. He's been struggling to get them in on time with my mom out of town because he's watching Libby during the day on Thursday and Friday while I am at work. He does the best he can, staying up late after he gets home from work on Wednesday and Thursday nights and squeezing in more homework when Libby naps, but it's been tough. This week, I actually took Friday morning off so he could get the assignment in by Noon.

What's even more irritating is that the other students in his cohort have until Mondays to turn in their assignments. He a small group other students got stuck with a clinical instructor known to be a hard-ass and purposely makes it difficult for her students. It's totally unfair. And might mean the difference between J passing this class or having to repeat it. He's going to make a formal complaint and ask to be switched to a different instructor, who allows assignments to be turned in on Mondays. I have no idea if they'll accommodate his request.

What's more, this is probably the worst week for me to be out of the office. Although I have plenty of leave time accrued and can use it, the timing is just really bad. We've had 5 snow days this month and I have some big projects that are due April 1. Next week, I'll be in Chicago for a conference. Ugh. So I am going to try and work from home...while I am looking after my little with chicken pox.

I am trying to make her as comfortable as possible. Bless her heart, she's not scratching. But she's cranky and clingy. I gave her a lukewarm, colloidal oatmeal bath and we're giving her acetaminophen. And snuggling a lot. Poor baby.

The silver lining in all of this is that she and I will have a lot of quality time together this week, which is good since I'll be leaving her for 5 days and 4 nights next week. I've never been away from her for longer than 18 hours, so I am anxious about this trip. But she'll be in good hands, my mom will be home and with her 24/7 and J will be here too.

I just hope to be able to leave enough pumped milk for her (she refuses all frozen BM). The plan is to pump as much as I can, starting this Tuesday, and leave it in the fridge for her. The stuff I pump this Tuesday, they'll use first next week and so on. Perhaps being being away will also convince her to take cow's milk? It's been introduced, but she basically refuses it. I am going to pump 4-5 times a day while I am gone and bring the milk home to give to the baby to whom I've been donating my extra milk. I still need to read up how to do that with the TSA. *sigh*

It's times like these that I really wish I was a SAHM. I know it's not easy to SAH, but it's not easy to be a working mom either. Especially one who has to travel away from home. Let's face it, being a mom just isn't easy, no matter how you slice it.

Bonding Over Breastmilk

It's fairly common knowledge that breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your baby. But I had no idea that breastfeeding would lead me to bond with other mothers. And make friends with them. Case in point. The mama with whom I went to the aquarium last weekend and I met while sitting in her chair at a recent dental appointment. I asked her if the numbing agent was approved for breastfeeding mothers. She said it was and we proceeded to chat (as much as one can with a numb mouth and dental tools in it) about the joys and trials of being working mothers who breastfeed. We hit it off and soon discovered many other things in common.

And, I have bonded with the mother to whom I've been donating breastmilk. So much so, this week, she and her husband looked after Libby for us while I was at work and J was in class. My mom is out-of-town this week and next so she can be with her sister, who just had a double bypass, and we needed an alternative daycare situation. This mom stays-at-home with her four-year-old and four-month-old daughters. Her husband works second shift, like J, and is home during the day. So as soon as we learned we'd need someone to babysit, I contacted them with the proposal. Much to our joy, they said, "yes, no problem." What a relief. So Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, we packed Libby up and dropped her off at their place.

We've never had to do the whole daycare drop-off and pick-up routine so it's been a learning curve for all of us. She was there on Monday from 8:15 a.m. until 2:45 p.m., Tuesday from 8:15 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. She'll do the same next week. I offered to pay them and they said, "just keep giving us your milk." But that didn't feel right. So I have them some cash on Wednesday. And will do the same next week. I don't want them to feel that we're taking advantage of a new friendship. And they've really helped us out, so the least we could do is give them some "fun money."

 Here's two iPhone pics that were taken of Libby by my firend while she was watching her this week. She posted them to my FB for me so I could see how Libby was doing while I was at work. So sweet!

This week has also made me extra grateful for the fact that my mom usually watches Libby during the week. Libby can sleep until she's ready to wake and we don't have to rush around and get her into the car and to daycare. It's so nice to be able to have Libby stay home, even if it's not with me. At least for now. When she's older, I would like her to go to preschool a couple day a week to socialize and begin preparing for school.

Speaking of which, we had our third Parents as Teachers home visit this week. I cannot say enough about how wonderful this program is. We've learned SO much in the three months we've been participating. I cannot believe it's free! I plan to donate some materials, like books and art supplies to our PAT educator as a thank you. Libby is developing way ahead in most areas and in some ways I know we've got our work cut out for ourselves to stay one step ahead of her! Last week, in the bath, she used two cups that we have in there (to help with shampooing her hair, etc.) to pour one into the other. Apparently these are called "transfer skills" and not something that toddlers her age can typically do. What's more, she always only uses the smaller one to pour into the larger one (the small one is 2 oz. and the large one is 6 oz.) which is also considered advanced problem solving and not something one year olds are usually capable of doing. Pretty neat, huh?

A Great Day

Today started with a quickie photo session in downtown Tulsa. I met our photographer near 4th and Elgin (down the street from the bus station) to snap some "urban" photos with Libby. Here's a sneak peek:

I had seen this location a lot in other photos and just knew I wanted some of Libby there too. Well, I almost changed my mind once we actually got there. As cool as this near-abandoned building with peeling aqua paint over brink and chipped red doors and stairs looks, well, it's down a back alley with broken out windows and abandoned shopping carts. It was dirty and smelled like pee. And right across from where we were shooting there was a homeless couple and their VERY large pit bull trying to catch some shut eye in one of the abandoned and dilapidated buildings. I think we took them by surprised. They watched us, but didn't say anything. As soon as we were done they got up and came out, but again, only after we had moved on...as I drove away I felt sad for them. I wondered what might had happened in their lives to lead them to the place where they spend the night in abandoned buildings. And I've seriously thought about trying to gathering up some things...food, water, blankets, etc. and bringing them back down there for them tomorrow.

I won't lie, something felt surreal about taking my freshly scrubbed baby, in her cute outfit (I already had everything except the cute pinafore, which I got from here), to have photos taken there. But then I saw this shot and was glad that we did it. I hope, someday, that when Libby is grown, she might return to this place (if it's still there) and have photos taken again. It's the first time I've taken her downtown (other than just passing through in our car) and I said to her, "This is YOUR city baby girl. This is where you're from...Tulsa!" I have always felt deeply connected to San Francisco, where I was born and raised, and I wonder if Libby will feel that way about Tulsa. I guess we'll  have to wait and see...I am sure it will be somewhat determined by how long we stay here.

We came home and had some lunch and Libby napped. As soon as she was up we got ready and headed to the Oklahoma Aquarium to meet up with my new friend L and her daughter A. A is two months younger than Libby. And 8 pounds lighter! But they're SO cute together. A wanted to touch Libby's hair. And Libby wanted to touch A's face and even gave her a kiss on the forehead. L and I took the girls around the aquarium which was quite busy since it was a Saturday. L is a working mama and we actually met in December when I was a client where she works. We hit it off immediately and chatted like old friends. I saw her again in January and invited them to Libby's birthday party. We've chatted on Facebook and are developing a nice friendship, which I so appreciate. It's been tough to be here and not have any girlfriends. But finally, after 2.5 years of living here, it's starting to happen. And I am SO grateful. L is younger than me (she's in her late 20's) but I feel like we click and can relate. I admire her greatly...she lost her first daughter on February 18, 2009, at just 4 days old. So this past week was the anniversary of her birth and death. And I thought L might not be up for a play date after such an emotional week. But she was. And she was great company and her little A was just precious. Obviously, with A almost 1 years old, L got pregnant again fairly soon after loosing her first little one. I cannot imagine the heartbreak. It must be bittersweet to be planning A's first birthday and remembering the first daughter she lost just two years ago. I look forward to developing our budding friendship and seeing the girls have more fun play dates together. Who knows, maybe A and Libby will be posing together for their senior portraits in downtown Tulsa someday?

First Haircut

Monday was our 10th Valentine's day together. It was Libby's second and to celebrate, she got her first haircut! My mom was taking a bath with her and while she played with her bath toys my mom combed and snipped her bangs (since they've been hanging in her eyes). That's it! Super quick. It came out cute and she's definitely looking more like a toddler now. Her walking is getting better and better each day and while she still crawls when she wants to get somewhere or something quickly, she's walking more and more.

We decided to celebrate Valentine's Day on the 15th. We don't really do much...usually just a dinner date. This year we decided to check out The Green Onion. It wasn't bad. The food was tasty and generous portions. We both ordered fish...I had the blackened Ahi and J ordered the stuffed salmon. He couldn't say enough about their famous potato! Dessert was yummy too...fresh apple pie a la mode for me and chocolate bread pudding for him. It was sorta empty while we were there but the service was slow. We had to ask for forks after the salad came and went. And the place looks like it's stuck in 1979. I swear, I was looking for Jack Tripper (from Three's Company) to show up any minute! LOL. But the food was good and the company was GREAT! We've not had a date night for a while and enjoyed just having some couple time together. Before heading to dinner, I got home and the weather was amazing so we took Libby up to La Fortune Park and played in the playground with her. She went down the slide and crawled on the equipment. She had fun watching all of the other kids too.

My mom left today to be in Portland with her sister as she has a bypass. It's scary and my mom is anxious for sure. The surgery is on the 23rd so please send healing and positive vibes to my aunt. With my mom gone that means it's just me and J looking after Libby. Normal, right? Well, we like out "village." My mom helps us so much! Especially now that J is in clinical classes by day and still working nights at the restaurant. So we're punting a bit. She'll be gone two weeks, come home for a week (to help J with Libby while I am at a conference in Chicago, for work) and then return to Portland for another week. Libby will be staying with our friends while J is in class and I am at work. This is the family I met in October. They'd just adopted a baby girl and were looking for donated breast milk for her. So, I gave them my whole freezer stash and have been donating whatever I can pump during the week to them. We've become friends and had a few visits with them. They came to Libby's birthday party and we went to their older daughter's birthday party the following week. The wife is a SAHM and the husband works second shift and is home in the daytime. So we felt comfortable with leaving Libby with them and are so grateful they said "yes" when we asked! I just pray that Libby is amenable and not too crabby or difficult for them to handle. Luckily, their older daughter, who just turned four, plays nicely with Libby and is a good distraction for her. That said, I know Libby will be missing my mom.

Today, I had a late teleconference at work, so J was off and home with Libby all day. It's been a while since he's had her all to himself for that many hours. He's such a great dad and I am sure they had fun having the time together. I picked up take-out from the new Thai Bamboo Bistro that just opened. It was just okay. We love Thai food, but to us the food just tasted like generic American-style Asian food. You know what I mean? Like mall food court Asian food. And it was SUPER salty so I bet they use MSG. We probably won't eat there again. We'll stick with Lanna Thai which is tasty and seems way more authentic.

First Haircut

Libby's hair has been hanging in her face, giving her a Justin Bieber-esque look:

So, during her bath tonight, my mom clipped her hair:

It still looks wispy and babyish but without the scraggly hairs hanging in her eyes.

Sneak Peeks!

Here's three shots from this morning's session!

This was the toughest session yet because Libby is SO mobile now and wanted to be into everything...and didn't want to sit/stand still in front of the camera.  That little black chair I picked up for $30 from Ross last night. It's velvet and has sparkly buttons where the tufting is. I gifted it to Malisa for all of the great photos she's done for us in last 14 months!

The nursing shots were a no-go because as soon as she latched on a Malisa starting snapping she'd pop off the breast to see what was happening. So, I guess I'll have to have my mom or J try to take some nursing photos of us. I am happy with how the cake turned out...it has a TON of frosting on it...not so great for eating, but GREAT for photos! Libby did as we expected and picked the sprinkles off and ate some of the frosting...no smashing whatsoever!

Last Baby Bundle Photo Shoot

Tomorrow, I am meeting with our photog, Malisa Morgan Waldrop, to shoot Libby's 12 month session. She's been shooting us since our maternity session...she's done newborn, 3-6-9 months sessions with us. Tomorrow wraps up our package with her, although I am sure we'll be taking her up on the mini sessions she offers throughout the year!

Tomorrow, we're going to do some black and white nursing shots (I requested this, since I want to remember this special time in our relationship as mother and child), then do some Valentine shots (even though they won't be done in time to use for Vday) and then some birthday cake smash shots. I am baking a cake as I type...hope it comes together the way I have it pictured in my head.  I bought one of those Big Top huge cupcake molds and am attempting to make a Jumbo Cupcake for Libby to smash. I was inspired by the cakes that photog Heidi Hope uses for her cake smash portraits. Or in her case...most likely pick the sprinkles off the frosting. She did this at her birthday party and again, a week later, at a friend's daughter's birthday party.

So we shall see...in any case, she'll be super cute...

I got this adorable ensemble from Ruffle Butts:

I got the headband and red bloomers. I am going to add a string of pearls and we'll have in in front of a black/white damask backdrop.

Then I have the tutu, hat and bib that didn't make it in time for her party. The hat is too big so I doubt she'll keep it on, we might just have to put it next to her or the cake. The tutu is adorable, now that I redid it (the original only have 11" of elastic and it was FULLY extended and did not even go over her legs!). I added polka dotted ribbons for extra fun! I have some balloons left over from her party, so we'll add that for some pizazz! Hope it comes together...it's all so adorable in my head!

More snow! Another short work week...

So Monday was back to the daily grind after 6 days home due to record-setting snowfall here in Tulsa. I was feeling cabin fever and ready to get out, as I had not been out of the house for a week.  My "uniform" as of late has been comfy flannel PJs, a nursing tank and fuzzy slipper socks! It felt odd to actually get dressed in real clothes and put on a bra and shoes!

I pretty much despise Mondays, as a rule, except that after Libby was born on a Monday, my heart has softened just a tad towards them. But drudging to work at 6:45 a.m. after a nice cozy weekend at home with the family is always tough. This week though, I was ready to get back to the office and try to catch up on the stuff that didn't get done last week.

On Monday, I arrived at my usual 7 a.m. to find that the roof in my assistant's office had leaked (again!) but this time her carpet was soaked and it traveled under the wall to my office (next door). Ugh. Despite the management's best efforts, we continually have this leaking roof problem on our side of the building anytime there is heavy rain and apparently, snow. We relocated my assistant to the vacant office on the other side of mine and a restoration crew showed up quickly to pull out the soaked ceiling tiles, insulation, and get to the task of drying out the carpets. My assistant settled quickly into her new digs. Me? I had the LOVELY task of trying to get my work done while being 10 inches from one of these:

If you've never seen one of these, let me tell you. They suck. Literally. As in, they'll suck the humidity out of everything, including your body. That may have been a welcome effect, since I am still suffering with a runny rose and stuffy head, but unfortunately, it just exacerbated the situation for me. It was so bad that I had to get some ultra-healing Blistex to take care of my chapped lips from Walgreen's on my way home on Monday afternoon! And these lovely fans are not quiet. They're right up there with the decibel level of a hair dryer. So after six hours or so of this I had ringing ears and a headache too. It's a wonder I was able to get any work done. Anytime the phone would ring, I'd have to turn the fan off so I could take the call. Guess that was the one plus to it being located less than a foot away from me. At least I could switch it off quickly!

I left for the day and when I returned on Tuesday, the fan was still going! I checked my carpet and it was dry. The restoration crew showed up a few hours later and I told them I couldn't work another day with it blasting me out. They said, "okay" and then took it away. I felt relieved. Until they came back with a BIGGER one and asked me to just turn it on when I left for the day. No problem. Except, as I type this, I cannot remember if I actually did that. Oops. I hope I did, but I am not certain. And since we got 5-8" of new snow overnight, there's no way I am going back up there to double-check. Maybe my nice assistant did, before she left for the afternoon (she leaves 90 minutes after I do). Guess we'll have to wait and see. It'll be at least a day before the office opens again. And just about a hour north of us? They got 12-18" of snow. And with the windchill factor we're sitting at -7 this morning. Eek. Let's just say our home is not really cut out for below-freezing temps. We have hardwood and tile floors, old windows and crappy insulation. We've been running our gas heater 24/7 AND have space heaters in each bedroom. Problem is, we have to alternate running those or else we blow fuses. Yes, fuses. Those old-school-screw-in kind. I am SO ready to move! But since we're renting I don't want to move to another rent house. I want us to buy. Not sure if we're quite ready for that just yet, so we're stuck here, for now.

So, today we're hunkering down for another snow day. And thankfully, it's supposed to warm up to "normal" temps on Friday. We had to reschedule Libby's smash cake photo session from last Saturday to this coming one, so I hope we'll still get to do it. She has her 1 year check-up at the pedi tomorrow morning and hopefully we won't need to reschedule it.  All this snow has just shut down the daily comings-and-goings of folks around here. And we're SO ready for it to be done. And while I am usually way ahead of deadline at work, these office closings have made one of my project's Friday deadline a little scary. I think we'll still be able to meet it, but I won't know for certain until tomorrow. If I have to delay it, I am sure everyone will understand, but I just hate missing deadlines.

Working Mother's Second Shift

I am used to walking in the door after work and Libby having a slight meltdown. I don't know why, but she cries in a little panicky way when she sees me after I've been gone all day. I try to offload my purse and pump bag, get the parts into the sink, the melted ice pack into the freezer and remove my jewelry and shoes in 1.5 seconds so I can scoop her up before she's pulling on my pant legs which prevents me from being able to move an inch! This afternoon, after work, I got home and Libby was even more clingy than usual (if you can imagine)! Like, I-cannot-even-change-out-of-my-work-clothes-or-use-the-bathroom-alone clingy. I chalk it up to the fact that she had mommy home for six whole days last week and then BAM! I was back at work (and even worked through lunch yesterday so I didn't have my usual lunch date with her).

Anyway, J had an extended day at school (since they anticipate closing tomorrow due to more snow) and my mom had two clients and some errands. I needed to get Libby fed and make dinner so that when J got home he'd be fed too. We played and nursed and I even managed to fold and put away two baskets of clean clothes. No small feat when your cute one-year-old's favorite game is opening the drawer you just filled and pulling all the clothes out onto the floor!  After that, I got her settled into her high chair with some food while I got our dinner going (usually we all eat the same meal together but Libby has to have dinner by 5 p.m. or she's a wreck and J wasn't due home until 6 p.m.).

Once she was finished eating, she started to fuss, so I cleaned her up and popped her on my back in the Ergo. I've only back-carried her once and had help getting her on so I wasn't even sure I could do it myself. But I did! And it allowed me another 30-minutes to finish what I needed to do, while keeping Libby close. I love that carrier! And so does she! She also loves pulling my hair when she's on my back, so I need to remember that my hair must be up and out of her reach before I put her back there!

Soon, J was home, we ate and then it was time to get Libby ready for bed. That's the downside to not being a SAHM. I basically get 3-4 hours a day with Libby. And that includes the 30-minutes I see her at lunchtime because I come home to nurse her. It does not include the 30-60 minutes in the middle of the night that I spend nursing/rocking her when she wakes up! Right now she only goes down for 4-5 hours at a stretch. Since she's been sleeping in her crib for about a month now, my next goal is to night wean her. But that means getting more calories into her by day because she's a bit of a reverse cycler. So that's the next step.

I've been reading different ways to do this, but I want it to be as gentle as possible. I don't want her to be hungry at night. Right now, when she wakes, I can hear her tummy growling and she does a full feed, not just a snack or comfort nursing. So, we'll start by trying to get more calories into her by day and see if that doesn't help the night waking a bit. My goal is to have her down from at least 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. without waking. Right now she goes down at 7 p.m. Wakes around 11 p.m. and nurses for about 10 minutes. Then sleeps until 3 a.m. and nurses again. And then stays asleep until 7:30-8 a.m. I'd love to drop that 3 a.m. feed and make it 5 a.m. when I get up for work anyway. And I hope if I do this she'll still want to go back to sleep until 8 a.m. or so, otherwise getting ready for work will be tough. If she's awake and I am home, she wants me and only me. She doesn't get that her mama has to get ready for work and out the door by 6:45 a.m. That said, If I can move the 3 a.m. feed to 5 a.m. and get her back down for another three hours or so, I'll be thrilled.

We're supposed to get another snow storm tonight and I anticipate that I'll be home from work tomorrow. I will enjoy my time home with family. The plus to all of this bad weather has been lots of quality time just playing and reading with Libby. Being home from work, I've gotten a small taste of what my life as a SAHM might be like. I don't know if I'd actually be cut out for it long-term. I find that I have way more patience for parenting when I've not been doing it 24/7. Is that awful? I watched the movie "Babies" last night and after seeing what the Namibian and Mongolian moms had to do all day, everyday, it made me feel like my life (and Libby's) is a cakewalk!

It also reminded me that babies and kids just need the basics to be happy...food and shelter...and LOTS of love from their family members and community.

Blizzard 2011: Day Five

Okay, I am done with the snow. Seriously. When did I sign up to live where it snows? I don't remember that being part of the deal when we decided to move here. Tornadoes? Sure. Sweltering summers? Yep. Thousands of miles from the nearest ocean beach? Okay. But snow? Nope. Not on the checklist.

I'll admit, when it's just a one- or two-day snowfall, it can be fun. You get the day off work and can snuggle close with the ones you love. But day five of unrelentless cold and feet of snow piled everywhere is not fun. I have literally not been out of the house since Monday afternoon. Nor have I been out of my pajamas!

On top of all of this, I am sick. Sneezing, coughing, plugged up head, sick. It sucks. But I still have my mama-duties...nursing Libby at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Settling her back down. Hoping I am not breathing on her too much. The last thing I want (or need) is for her to get what I've got.

And the cabin fever? It got to the point last night where we let her watch a Thomas the Train DVD. Despite deciding not to show her any TV until at least the age of two, my mom brought home the DVD yesterday. She just HAD to get out of the house and ended up at CVS. And the movie was there and on sale, so she got it. You know, "just in case." "Just in case" what? Well, it was nearing bedtime and Libby was all ramped up. So after several failed attempts at getting the nigh-night routine going, we all climbed into my mom's bed (she's the only one with a TV in the house) and watched about 15 minutes of Thomas the Train. What a weird show. The only thing I like is that Alec Baldwin does the narrations. But it did the trick, Libby calmed down and then we could start her bedtime routine. Two hours later than normal, but we got there nonetheless.

We also finally defrosted the washing machine pipes and are getting to those poopy diapers. Yuck. I swear, INSIDE laundry is one of the TOP priorities for us when we get our next house. Heading into meat locker conditions to wash a load of laundry is unbearable. So is the opposite...when it feels like sauna in the summer. So yeah, INSIDE laundry will be right after 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a gas range for the next house we get. The rest? Negotiable.

Flashback: On this day last year...

We took these:

Libby was just 10 days old and it was our first time out since he pedi follow-up when she was just two days old. We spent about four hours at the photographer's studio and MOST of the time was spent comforting a crying newborn. We nursed and rocked and she cried some more. In fact I was just about to call it quits, I had never heard her cry or be so upset, and then, right on cue, she fell into a deep sleep and we were able to get these incredible newborn photos. I am so glad we did. I know I'll cherish them always and I hope that someday, Libby will love them just as much as I do.

Blizzard 2011: Day Four

It's snowing! Again. We haven't had any new snow since Tuesday, when ALL 14 inches fell within a 24 hour period. Oh boy! It sure is pretty to watch it fall, but the mess it makes afterwards is not pretty at all. On top of it, I am sick. Started yesterday with a scratchy throat. Overnight it developed into full on aches and pains, sore throat, stuffy nose and a fever. The fever broke this morning around 8 a.m. Being as I have been at home 24/7 since Monday evening, I am guessing I picked up the bug at work sometime on Monday. I ran into a few coworkers who were coughing and sneezing. Thanks a lot! Add cabin fever to my real fever and a cranky, fussy baby and well, let's just say I've had better days. And it's only 11 a.m. Hope things improve from here, I really do.

Blizzard 2011: Day Three

No pics today. We're all a little stir crazy and just trying to stay out of each other's hair. J's work has been canceled, so has mom's clients. Libby's teething (again)...one year molars pushing on up. So she's clingy and cranky. I am feeling run down...not sure if I am coming down with something or if it's just due to lack of sleep (because of the aforementioned teething baby) or because our house gets downright cold (despite running our heaters 24/7) and my feet have been cold for days! Tonight? I hope to just get the baby to bed around 7 p.m. and do the same. I already know that I have tomorrow off from work due to the weather...they're predicting MORE snow too...so I bet J will be off work as well. Day four? Bring it on!

Blizzard 2011: Day Two

Tulsans are still digging their way out of record-breaking snow and freezing temperatures. Yesterday goes on record as the most snow ever for the area, at 14 inches, and the snowiest February as well! We've been a little stir crazy, three adults, four dogs, a cat and a toddler in a 1300 sq. ft. house can be a bit much of too much togetherness!

I had today off work, again and tomorrow has been canceled too. Today, I finally finished my Pregnancy Journal on Mixbook.com. It was the last day to get 30% off and that was just the push I needed to finally finish this project that I started this time last year! It should arrive on the 16th and I hope I like it as much in person as I do online. I am considering using them to make Libby's first year memory book. So we shall see.

Here are some photos from our snow days...

We remembered to bring Libby's swing in from the backyard before the storm hit.
Today, she looked out the window and was wondering where it went!

Our stroller, on the other hand, we thought would be safe enough on our porch. Um, yeah...not so much.

Mom and J spent about 3 hours digging out our driveway

I tried to get some laundry done, but alas, the water pipes are frozen. We put a work lamp on them in hopes that they'll thaw a bit. Our bucket of poopy (cloth) diapers, that we keep in the garage near the washer, was frozen solid too. Hmm...poopsicle? Yuck. We like to wash our cloth diapers every other day, so I hope that the pipes will thaw soon so I can get them in there and cleaned! Tomorrow's another snow day and I've got to do something productive! I might just have to bust out the glue gun and get some DIY craft projects done...you know the one's I never have time to complete? Seems like right now, all I got is time. Might as well put it to some good use. That and I think I'll nap...it's been way to long since I've been able to do that!

Blizzard 2011

This time last year, we had some snow. It was only a few days after Libby was born so January 28-29, 2010. I remember it because we had to take her to the pediatrician for a weight check and janudice test.  The roads hadn't been cleared and J drove so cautiously the 2 miles up to the doctor's office.

This year, our annual January snow storm is much worse! We've known since Friday that this was coming, so we're prepared. People are bit freaked out though, I guess they're remembering the Ice Storm of 2007 and want to be as prepared as possible. The stores are all picked over and sold out of bread, eggs and milk. And bananas! Who buys bananas in an emergency? Weird. Anyway, here's a screen shot of Weather.com from this morning:

They're predicting record snow fall and wind chill factors below zero. The constant snow fall and the blowing winds started in the wee hours last night, I could hear the ting-ting-ting of ice rain falling on our cars just outside our bedroom windows. And the wind howling. Awoke this morning to a winter wonderland with about a foot of snow!

My office is closed today, as are most places, including all schools and the major shopping malls. At this rate, I am thinking tomorrow might be more of the same! I just hope we don't lose power. As long as there's power, we'll be okay. If we lose power, we're going to get to a hotel because we have no fireplace and no means of keeping warm.

The dogs are beside themselves. Normally, even in snow, they'll go out. But they've never been in snow this deep before. They insisted on testing it this morning:

They didn't last ten seconds! So...we're just passing the time. It's days like this I wish we still had a TV (we turned off the cable and donated ours to AmVets in August). We might watch a movie later...on the computer. We've played games and read books. Libby and grandma even colored with crayons for a little while:

Times like this call for comfort food! Yesterday afternoon, I made a big pot of chili and baked up some cornbread muffins. Today, we've already had Malt-o-meal with brown sugar and toasted cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. Brownies will be baking shortly. We're passing the time with yummy food and music playing on the CD player.