Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life Updates as of July 2011

Well, I haven't blogged in a while. The main reason has been my little man and his great desire to explore. But here it goes with what we are up to at this point...

In May, Don, Jaxon and I all flew to Lynchburg for Don to interview at Orthopaedic Center of Central Virginia and Liberty University. This was definitely a God thing. About a week and half prior, we had no idea where we were moving and had no job...we were just going to be without a home come June 30th. After a few telephone calls and many many prayers, Don received two job offers in the same day! So we were planning to move to Lynchburg!! Crazy how I said I would never move back here while I went to school in Lynchburg. God really has a sense of humor...

In June, I packed and I packed and I packed!! The whole time, Jaxon unpacked and untaped boxes while I tried to put stuff in them. I would not recommend moving with a young toddler. They can make the process quite a bit longer. We also took some time to visit a few places in the city and see a few friends. Had a great night eating dinner at X2O with Patrick and Cheryl. Fabulous dinner and wonderful company (thought I would send a shout out if you are reading this)!! Jaxon also decided he would take his first steps this month. At 8 months old, I have a (sort of) walking baby - crazy!! At the end of the month, we packed up another U-haul for another move. We moved to "Downtown" Lynchburg into a building built in the 1800's. Pretty cool building. I will post pictures once we have a few less boxes taking up space.

Then just as quickly as June came and went, July was here. Off we went again. Jaxon and I left our house in boxes and went to Knoxville for 2 weeks. Spent some time with family and friends. I also have to add that it was extremely hot, so we spent a lot of time in the house. Right at the end of this trip, Jaxon decided he would get Roseola. Not fun!!! He had a fever ranging from 101-104 for about 5 days. Then the fever completely stopped one day just to discover a full body dotted little rash. He was one irritable little guy for the ride home. We spent one week here and then left for Durham. While Don was busy in a conference for 2 days, I spent time with great old friends that I haven't seen in a very long time. Great lunch with Kelly, seeing all my co-workers from Duke; and of course, the time spent with the Hambricks.

Well that is all for now. Stay tuned for more important announcements from this broadcasting family...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Make it Pretty

Well, since no one responded to my Earth Day post; I am going to write another! Earth Day is this coming Friday. It doesn't matter is you believe that the polar ice caps are melting or if you believe that Al Gore is a quack. It doesn't matter if you drive a Toyota Prius or a Ford F-350 extended cab truck. The fact is, we can all make our planet a little cleaner and a little prettier just by implementing a few changes in our routines.

The fact is that we humans make a smaller carbon footprint than cows. Cows emit a damaging and startling amount of methane gas which will probably cause our children to need SPF 1000 and our ozone layer to be a doily of decoration.

So here is what I propose: make some change by reusing an old object, repurpose something bound for the trash, recycle an old article of clothing into something trendy, reduce the amount of paper and plastic in your household or simply just change your habits. Some examples would be to use cloth diapers or go diaper free for a short while each day to reduce the amount of disposable diapers in landfills. Reduce the amount of plastic you use to pack your child's lunch. Have your kids create recycling bins that they can collect recyclables in and get money for. Walk, ride your bike or ride public transit to work while the weather is warm enough to walk but cool enough to tolerate. All those old flannel baby blankets, turn them into cleaning rags. Change your cleaning products out for more eco friendly solutions.

There are so many different things that you can do for Earth Day. Brainstorm with your kids to come up with ideas that they are excited to help with. Let me know your ideas. Sharing may spur some others with changes that they can make!!

Happy Earth Day 2011!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Earth Day Upcycle

Well, this blog has a two part purpose. The first is, of course, our responsibility to be good stewards of what has been given to the earth. The second is our entry to win this giveaway.

I decided to upcycle something that would help us in the big picture of our EC journey. Since we are trying to not use as many diapers, I thought this would be the perfect project. Instead of purchasing new training pants for Jaxon, I decided to turn his old prefolds into new training pants. Now, as I don't have these skills myself; I enlisted a great Etsy store owner for help. Here is our project in picture form:

So our journey of EC continues to be healthier for Jaxon and the earth as we continue to reduce our water usage for diaper washing and our product usage to make diapers. I helped out the small business model by employing a SAHM for this project. I also got some really cool looking cloth training pants out of it. I would have loved to have made them myself, but my skills are just not there yet.

So now I challenge you, what is your project going to be for Earth Day? Get your kids involved and recycle/upcycle/plant/reuse for a good cause! Pay it forward and do something for a cause that makes the earth a prettier place!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Half Birthday

Jaxon is officially half way through his first year of life. It is crazy to think how quickly it has gone. We are so truly gracious to have been blessed with such a wonderful baby. No, he is not perfect by any stretch of the means; but he definitely is a great little dude to have around!! Here is where we were to where we are now:

Happy Half Birthday!!! I love you, little man!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Journey Continues

Here is where we are in our diaper free world. We have made some great progress. Jaxon's signals have changed so much from when we first started our journey. He now gets quite fussy and audible when he needs to pee or poo. He will get very squirmy when being held and not be consolable if he is playing on the floor by himself. It is so nice to understand almost all of his cries and fussiness. I can meet his needs so much quicker which increases our relationship exponentially.

I don't like to focus on catches and misses, but he has been doing exceptionally well the past couple of weeks. We had a rough few weeks during his and my sicknesses. Needless to say, we weren't communicating very well. As he started to get better, our communication picked right back up. He has not had a poo diaper (minus one because I didn't get out of bed in time) in about 2 weeks!! I still probably miss about 30% of his pees. Sometimes those misses are a small tinkle before he makes it to the bathroom.

A few funny things that have happened include:

I wouldn't consider this incident a true "miss", but we didn't quite hit the toilet. He woke up one morning and was quite squirmy. I got him undressed and headed for the bathroom. We got just inside the bathroom door and started to position for the toilet seat when he poo'd all over the bathroom floor. Mind you, he was in my this was quite a distance from the floor. Yeah, we had high velocity splatter! I don't think I was quick enough on the draw for him that morning.

Another thing is his noticeable excitement for pooing. I make a "psss" noise when he pees and say "poo" when he poos. He has a little grunt for poo, waits for me to say "poo" then smiles and laughs at what he has done. It is really cute and I can't help but laugh.

Our journey is good! We have some upcoming new things like more teething and creeping and crawling have commenced! We will see what new excitement this brings!

Suggested EC Reads

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Little Joey

My first topic of choice is babywearing. Babywearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a child in sling, wrap or other form of carrier. It is a practice that has been done for centuries in cultures around the globe, but has really only become popular in our society more recently. Advocates such as Dr. Sears have brought the practice into everyday living here in America. It is widely popular among attachment parenting folks.

I love babywearing. We started early with traditional babywearing known as kangaroo care. It is named this after, well, kangaroos or marsupials. The little joeys are born "premature", and rely on being carried in their mother's pouch for care and survival.

We continue to babywear with wraps and soft structure carriers. I prefer wraps for the versatility that they provide. Don prefers the soft structure carrier so that he looks more "manly". My next plan is to get a mei tai, though. It promotes an amazing amount of bonding. You can read much more about babywearing here or here. You can also learn how to use many of the wraps here.

Some of the great benefits that I have personally found include: increased breastfeeding on demand, freedom of having both hands to get tasks accomplished, less crying and irritability because I am able to answer needs quicker, ease of communication between Jaxon and I (especially helpful with EC), more mobility and less fret of stairs that comes with having a stroller, increased socialization of Jaxon because he is face to face with everything that I do, strengthened core muscles without having to stress about tummy time, and a good way to keep warm!!

Don't take my word for it. I encourage anyone to spend some time babywearing. I think you will quickly be sold!

What are your babywearing experiences? What are you favorite carrier or wraps? Any pictures?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Point of a Blog

So there are thousands of blogs out on the internet now. There is a blog for just about anything that you can think of. If you want to read something that you are pro, that you are con, that you care nothing about, that slightly interests you or that you feel passionately is out there.

That being said, I am adding to the mix. I am adding to the mix mostly for my own benefit. It gives me something to do. It gives me a place to put my crazy thoughts. If people read it, that is great. If people choose not to read it, that is also fine. This is a virtual public diary. No old book underneath my mattress, no lock and key...just a public site to air my dirty laundry. So I am sort of defining my blog right now (although the definition is subject to change).

I have written about an abundance of things between this blog and our old blog site (that I closed a while back). I have written family updates, my thoughts on parenting, random thoughts about public event and so on.

I have a few blogs that I want to write. These blogs will definitely define my parenting style even more so. My point is not to offend or even tell anyone how to parent (which I really hope you wouldn't listen to me). My point is to talk about some of the things that work for us, why they work, how we do them, and why I like them. I truly welcome feedback, questions and thoughts from anyone whether they be for or against the topic at hand. That being said, I don't appreciate maliciousness (from anyone). I know everyone has a thought on parenting, and we should all be open to listening.

After having many conversations with our pediatrician, fellow colleagues, friends, other mothers and even relatives...I have determined that I am a countercultural mama. I am okay with that definition. There are people far more crunchy than I and people far more mainstream than I. I don't think you are wrong in what you do, hoping that you are doing the best that you can with what you know and what is working for your family. That is all I am trying to do.

All of that being said, my post will be of a more crunchy and natural nature. Some of you may agree, disagree or not give a hoot. The only thing I ask is that it not turn into a malicious debate between anyone!! I do not intent to offend people with my thinking; but it may happen because I can't please all. So stand by (all my crazy "fans" {a very small amount of people, I'm sure}) for upcoming posts that are now clogging my head...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Have You Got It...Have You Got The Fever

Now I am sure that there are many, many Bieber crazed girls out there that are now very disappointed to find out he has a girlfriend. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have officially "come out" with their "relationship." This is such a sad moment for his fans who were really hoping that they would be THE ONE!!

Okay, so I don't really have the Bieber Fever as that would be quite creepy, seeing that he is 17. I do remember having another kind of crazy crush when I was much, much younger. It was for New Kids on the Block. Yeah, some of you remember this time. The late 80's and early 90's brought about the NKOTB boy band craze! I have a class picture from school in which I am wearing a NKOTB sweater with the letters written in neon colors! I had tapes and posters and even framed portraits! Yeah, I was in love!!!

That crush got greatly destroyed when NKOTB performed in Time Square for New Year's Eve with Backstreet Boys this past year. So sad.

So NKOTB moved on and I never married Joey, Jordan, Jon, Danny or even Donnie. Oh well!

So what was your big crush growing up?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

To Vaccinate or Not: That is the Question

Tuesday's decision by the Supreme Court in the case Bruesewitz v. Wyeth has caused quite a stir among many parents pro and con vaccines. The current federal law states that vaccine makers cannot be sued for "side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings." The court voted 6 to 2 in favor of the vaccine maker. Read the specifics of this case here.

Whatever your take on vaccines may be, the fact that the maker cannot be held liable in lawsuits is crazy. I personally do not agree with a mass immunization schedule that is currently promoted by the CDC and AAP. This doesn't make sense to me because not every kid is alike and not every family history is the same. Our country currently allows for this type of thinking, but with more rulings like the one above, this may soon be taken away. The CDC and AAP both desire mandatory vaccinating of the American population. I am not sure that I desire my child's health to be left in the hands of the government and the CDC who all have their hands in the same piggy bank as the vaccine manufacturers.

You may not agree with me on this fact, and that is all good. If you just aren't sure which direction to go, do the research for yourself. Here is a great blog "blueprinting" both sides. Her blog does slightly lean to one side, but it does cover both arguments. Do your research and be educated about your child's health. You have way more invested in your child than the American government does. You have his or her best interest in mind.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On the Job Training

This has been a week of firsts in a lot of ways for me. It has been a wonderful week and it has been a ROUGH week!

Parenting is on the job training. You don't get a trial run at it (like many other things in life). No matter what parenting philosophy or lack of philosophy that you follow, no matter how many books you did or did not read, and no matter how much good or bad of a job you think you are doing rearing your children...there is always room for improvement. Sometimes that learning process is through happy times and sometimes it comes about by mistakes.

For my learning curve this week, I learned that just because Jaxon performs well for national television on Monday morning doesn't mean he is going to remain in that same jovial mood for the entire week. Maybe I should have the GMA crew here more often. They seemed to put him in a trance.

I learned that even when mama is sick, Jaxon still wants to be entertained 24/7 (during the awake hours which don't always coincide with mine).

I learned that he somehow senses that I am sick and starts to give me true cuddles along with reaching for me to "pep" me up for the upcoming playtime.

I learned that once he starts learning a new task, he doesn't want to give up until it's conquered (ie: crawling and sitting) for anything that I may have in mind!

I learned that because of the last above said statement, you don't place and undiapered child on your lap until you are really ready to pay attention to his potty signals because he has been holding his potty trying to master his new skills.

I learned that mommy better be ready when increasing diaper free time and decreasing misses!

But most importantly, I learned that even though I am sick and thought that I wanted a "break"; I really didn't. I thought I wanted Don to take him and comfort/play with him while I sat on the couch and rested. Instead, I really just sat there watching him and waiting for him to come back to mommy to eat so I could snuggle. It's true...I'm a sucker for his cute little chubby cheeks and big "I'm happy and full" grin that I get when he eats now!

It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Diaper Freedom!!!

We just had an interview for Good Morning America yesterday. Don, Jaxon and I along with Melinda Rothstein (founder of all will be featured on a segment by GMA concerning potty learning. The segment is due to air on Wednesday, Feb 23.

While doing the interview, some interesting questions were brought up by the interviewer. I want to clarify the many reason why I think this is a wonderful process. I also want to share this process with the many many moms who have children young enough to go through the process, but may have never heard about it.


1. Communication: I think that communication with babies is very important to help in the bonding and attachment relationship. That communication can seem difficult sometimes when we are not keenly aware of their signals. I'm going to tell you a little secret....babies are not verbal. Since I have let you all in on that little detail, now we can look at different ways of communication. When babies need to eat, they root and smack their lips. When babies are tired, they rub their eyes and get fussy. When babies need to be close, they reach out to us. So the same is for elimination patterns. When babies need to pee or poo, they communicate to use by using signals. Some of these signals may include fussiness, squirming, a pause in what they are doing, or coming on and off the breast. These are all ways that babies inform us of their need to eliminate prior to actually doing the deed. My job is to communicate back. I can do this by ignoring their signals and letting them eliminate in a diaper on themselves. Or, I can do this by taking them to the proper receptacle to eliminate. I am then communicating that it is okay to eliminate, and you won't be doing it on yourself. This type of communication increases the bond between baby and caregiver. It increases the amount of trust the baby has in us as caregivers to meet their needs which will in turn decrease their stress level.

2. Natural instinct: Babies are born with a natural instinct or desire to eliminate somewhere other than on themselves. This is why the newborn baby cries after he pees or poos. This is why when you take that diaper off, newborns will pee. They don't want to sit in their pee or poo no more than any adult desires to. After time, this instinct will start to dissolve because we train them that eliminating on themselves is normal by keeping them in diapers all of the time. Why not allow them to keep this instinct by placing them on a potty instead?

3. Time Consuming: When I first heard of DFB or EC, I thought about how my time was already going to be so limited. Why would I want to add more stuff to the crazy life of taking care of a new baby. Well, I quickly learned that it takes much longer for me to change a diaper on a baby who thinks diapers are the most evil thing ever invented than it does to take him to the potty. This has become part of our normal routine throughout the day. Contrary to what you may think, I don't spend hours a day hovering over a toilet.

4. Health: The idea of a urinary tract infection causes shivers up my body. I hate to suffer from a UTI. It is very uncomfortable. Now throw a UTI on a nonverbal baby. I don't even want to imagine the horror. By removing the wet diaper, I now reduce the chance of a UTI. That simple. I also reduce the chance of getting a diaper rash. I have seen some pretty bad diaper rashes in my work days. I would have no desire to have those scaly, itching, burning red bumps on my butt, would why risk my son's bottom.

5. Environment: The less that I use diapers (disposable or cloth) the better for the environment...that simple.

6. Struggle: Traditional potty learning can bring many bad thoughts into the minds of parents who have already been there and done that. This is a process that shouldn't bring about torture for the parent or child. I want my son to have a gentle experience. I shouldn't have to force him to do anything, much less something that is a natural instinct for humans. Although potty learning is not the ultimate goal with EC, it is a side effect of it. Side effects of my parenting should be just as gentle as the parenting itself.

These are my musing as to why I truly believe that Elimination Communication is a wonderful process by which I can increase the attachment bond between Jaxon and I. We have reached a comfortable level of understanding by increasing our communication with one another.

Monday, February 7, 2011

4 Months

I can't believe that Jaxon has already been with us for 4 months. It is crazy how quickly time is flying by.

He is becoming such a busy little beaver. We just got back from Boston, which was his second road trip. He has already taken an airplane trip, also. He got to go swimming for the first time this past weekend. He has gotten to meet many internationally renown strength and conditioning specialists. Pretty cool first 4 months!!

We've entered into the world of full time elimination communication. He is doing very well. He pees and poos in the sink and big toilet. He has gone in his little potty, but doesn't like it because the seat is too cold!!! He's gone in public restrooms as well while we were traveling. He will take some naps where he wakes up completely dry. We've had days where he refuses to pee anywhere but in the diaper, and days when he screams when I put his diapers on. He spends a lot of time naked. He has taken a few naps while being completely naked, and he didn't pee at all!! It has been fun to figure out his pottying cues! It is fun to watch him watch himself in the mirror while he pees. He gets really excited for himself!!

I have no idea how big he is right now. We haven't been to the pediatrician since early December. We do have an appointment coming up. I will update on his weight and height at that point. I know he has grown, though. Some of his 3-6 month clothes aren't fitting :(!!

He is really starting to enjoy his Jumparoo. He is a big fan of sitting in the swing in the morning time and looking outside. He still loves to be worn and we have ventured into the world of back carries and woven wraps! I love wrapping and I love woven wraps. So much fun!!! He is big cuddler when he is tired. He loves to cuddle up in bed and, well of course, eat!!! He is a great nurser. No problems in the eating area!!! His favorite toys right now are a mirror, a vibrating and laughing cow and my face.

Being his mommy is exhausting and exhilarating...but I wouldn't trade it for the world!!! I love you Jaxon Parker....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Poo and Pee and All That In Between!!!

Well, we are officially embarking on an elimination journey with Elimination Communication. Jaxon is teaching us when he needs to poo or pee in the potty instead of in diapers. I encourage anyone with kids to read up on it. It is a great tool to get to know your baby even better. We officially started it full time today, but have been doing it occasionally up to this point. He has peed in the toilet multiple times. We are still working on poos at this point. Lots of diaper free time. Beware, you may see many naked baby pics coming up.

Our goal is not to potty learn early (although that will probably be accomplished), but to increase our communication to each other. As he communicates his need to poo or pee, I increase my communication to him by answering these needs. He seems to enjoy his diaper free time. We also just purchased his brand new potty. We purchased the BeCO potty which is truly biodegradable after we are finished. Also, some more baby legs coming our way to keep those little legs warm when not wearing much clothing or diapers.

Bid us well on our journey....

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Resolutions, Goals and Dreams

Well, I know New Year's Day was a few days ago, but I am setting my goals in motion now. I don't call my aspirations "New Year's Resolutions" because that always brings on an instant thought of failure. So many people (present company included) break their resolutions. Therefore, I will call mine a goal! I have a desired result in mind!

Now I know that every woman in America has a weight loss resolution or goal. I do think it is a little cheesy, but it is my goal too. I have officially lost all but 1 lb of my pregnancy weight. I can fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, including jeans. I am proud of this, but I did nothing to get this way. Breastfeeding has been the only thing that has brought the weight off of me.

Unfortunately, I still don't like the way I look or my "health" level right now. I am not satisfied with myself at this point. Not an unhealthy body image thing, just want to be healthier. I am already obsessed with food health and organics, but I need to go a little further in my health venture. In order to do this, I must go BOLD!!!

In doing this, I must keep in mind my bone structure, height, health of my baby and health of my family. I cannot let those things falter, but I can get healthier myself. So here it goes:

Current weight: 175lbs
Goal weight: 160 lbs
Current exercise: sitting up in the morning to get out of bed, constantly creating motion for a 15-16 lb child, walking through the grocery store
Goal exercise: 5 mile run (without having an asthma attack - yes I actually have asthma), strength training on a more frequent basis such as twice per week

So, now that the holidays are over and I have officially announced my weight to the world...I think I'll get started so that I can come back and announce a lower weight a little more proudly.

PS: If any of you ladies want to join me in this endeavor...please feel free to comment. You must be just as bold, though. No fad diets, no starving yourself...just a healthier lifestyle!!!

Happy New Year!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Three Months

Well, we have made it 3 months with our little man. It is amazing how time flies. We have already had so many "firsts". We had our first Thanksgiving, our first Christmas, our first New Year's, our first car trip, and our first airplane trip. He's had a busy little life in just 3 months. He has been in NY, NJ and TN already. I'm so sure that he will remember to tell you all about his experience with these things, also!! I know he is somewhere between 15 and 16 lbs now and is about 25-26 inches tall. He is teething like crazy, grasping for his toys, "talking" (oohs and ahhs), smiling, laughing, loves his bath time, eating like he may never get fed again, not waking as much (see side note), and starting to like his Jumparoo seat!

*****Side Note****
He is not waking as much, but he is eating all night long. Let me explain. We went to my dad's house for New Year's and spent 10 days there. Before going, I had been placing him in the cosleeper for the first few hours at night, and then moving him over to our bed in the early, early morning. He would then nurse on and off for the rest of the morning. This usually happened around 4 or 5. When we were at my dad's house, he slept with me all night. My dad has a heated mattress pad on the bed, so Jaxon would spread out and sleep great on the heated bed. He would cuddle next to me all night and nurse freely. I have given up on changing this as we do sleep great this way. He nurses whenever all night and I sleep all night (mostly). The co sleeper has became a great place to hold diapers and wipes :)!

Little Updates:
1. He still continues to refuse all pacifiers of every shape and size
2. He nurses like a champ
3. He has horrible eczema which requires daily oatmeal baths, prescription cream, calendula cream and a dairy free mommy
4. He has started bringing both legs up into the crawling position, but can't quite lift his head off the ground at the same time
5. Cloth diaper is going great. We have every shape and sort of cloth diaper. We even have daddy friendly cloth diapers.
6. He likes to look at himself in the mirror.
7. Teething has brought on the world of constant drooling.
8. He is still the cutest guy ever!!!