Friday, May 9, 2014

The Lovable Lens

Hi friends!  If you're still awesome enough to be checking Cubbies & Nooks every-so-often (AKA you've subscribed to it in Feedly and have now forgotten to unsubscribe), check out my new blogging venture -- The Lovable Lens.  This is a social media outlet for our family's camera store business and I'm on the journey to take better pictures of my tiny little people!  Come see how life is changed at our house...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baby Check: 11 Months

Oh, hello extremely delayed Baby Check.  BUT, this is how I'm justifying my lateness: we're still technically closer to her 11 month than her 1 year, so this is totally still on time.  Duh.

Random thoughts/memories/developments from the her 11 month (mind you I am trying to ignore the last two weeks, which are technically in her 12th month and will be detailed later):

We started off Effy's 11th month with her first trip!  I originally intended to detail the trip in a separate post, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen, so I'll give you a brief summary.  Effy, my hubs, and my mom & dad went to NYC for a week at the beginning of August.  Originally we were just going to get up there for a 2-day conference, but it quickly turned into a week long vacation because that's just more fun.  On the plane: Effy did GREAT flying out.  Snoozed, played, was generally cute and really loved looking out the window.  Coming home...well...we sat on the tarmac for an hour and Effy napped, meaning she was awake and trapped in our arms for the entire flight home.  Plus, on the trip out, we were able to pass Effy back and fourth between us and my parents just to give her some variety.  However on the flight back, the power-hungry diligent flight attendant insisted that Effy only stay with Scott and I because our side of the plane had 3 oxygen mask thingies and the side mom & dad were on did not.  Lame.  Regardless, we made it home in one piece and will totally fly with baby again.  She's so good.  While we were in NYC, we basically  did lots of walks, yummy meals, time in Central Park, a couple of museums, and some shopping.  Effy's favorite thing in New York?  Pigeons.  Seriously.  They received lots of squeals and excited leg kicks.  Here is a quick photo dump from our trip...
One of Effy's favorites modes of transport - Dadda.
Effy's favorite part of our hotel room.
Our hotel was in the Garment District and the view from our room was Bryant Park.  I pretty much felt like Heidi Klum...and I am a lot like her.  For example, I am typing this blog post while wearing a pair of scottie dog PJ pants.  Total Heidi move if I ever saw one.
Scott & Effy in Bryant Park

We got to meet up with two of my awesome friends whilst we were there, Lindsey & Hännah.  I apparently didn't take any pictures with Lindsey because I'm a jerk.  Lindsey showed us the High Line and we ate at a place with super tasty milkshakes.  Oh, and I got a burger with a fried egg on it which is one of my most favorite things in all the land.  Here's a shot of me and Hännah following our tasty meal at Alice's Tea Cup.  I had pumpkin pancakes!  Amazing.

Back to random photo time...
Effy was more than happy to practice standing up as long as it involved stealing ice cream.
Learning about art at The Met.
Trying to slow her down so we could pack to come home.
Double ear-infection: While on our trip, Scott ended up with bronchitis, which made me feel so bad.  Being sick is the worst, but being sick while you're not at home is double the worst.  About a week after we got home, I ended up getting some respiratory infection and Effy ended up with a double ear infection.  She really didn't seem to mind it.  In fact, we went to the doctor and said, "We just wanted to get Effy checked because Scott and I have both been sick and on antibiotics and wondered how Effy was doing."  Yeah...she had a double ear infection but was not upset about it.  She's good to go now though!

Dogs and babies: Effy is currently obsessed with two things -- babies and dogs.  She doesn't play with other babies really, but really likes to look at them and squeal.  She LOVES dogs and is lucky enough that Scott's dad and step-mom (aka Poppy & J-Ma) live a couple blocks from us and have a very sweet dog that is slowly getting used to Effy screaming at her.  Effy's very favorite toy right now is her stuffed Boo.  He makes Effy a very happy and snuggly baby!

Swings: We go on lots of least two a day but usually three.  If Effy is remotely close to a park with swings, a device in her diaper tells her legs to kick like crazy and to squeal with delight...or at least that's how it seems.  For so long, she seemed so indifferent to things around her but we exposed her to them anyway.  A tree?  Umm...whatever mom.  A squirrel?  I don't even care, mom.  But now, she's showing opinions and reactions to almost everything, especially swings.  They're the best.  It's easy for me to say "no" and re-direct her away from things I know she doesn't need (like the high-calorie food I tend to eat).  But when she has the most innocent desire ever, to swing at the park, I almost always go for it.  She is just so precious.

Boogers: I've picked many a booger in my day and recently on a walk, Effy had a pretty good one that was a dangler.  I snatched it up and wiped it on the sidewalk (obviously).  Then I accidently ran over it with the stroller.  This clearly warranted a picture.  Then the booger warrented me sharing it with the internet.

Baby proofing: Effy started crawling in June, I believe.  I'm too lazy to verify this by looking back at a blog entry.  Ever since then, we were aware that we needed to do some serious baby proofing, but some of it overwhelmed me.  We decided it was worth the extra money to have someone come in and help us and it was SO wonderful.  We found The Soft Landing and a sweet lady came and did a run through of our house, was very informative, and funny too.  Then a handyman came and installed two baby gates and countless cabinet locks (some super cool magnetic ones...I highly recommend them).

Pulling up: Effy's 11th month was the month of pulling herself up to standing.  She does it ALL the time, wherever she can.  She has yet to stand without holding onto something.  Scott and I think she's physically capable but she has a mental roadblock that she can't do it, so we're trying to show her that she can!  Oh, she also walks with her little walker toys or if we're holding her hands, but no official first steps yet. First she's gotta stand on her own.  She can do it!

Library story time: We checked out storytime at the library this month as well.  It's free, there are cute babies, and we sing songs, so I'm sure we'll go back.  I'm not sure if we'll go super consistently because we're now paying to participate in Kindermusik (which I did growing up, so it's nostalgic and all), but it's nice to know there's an option to get us out of the house other days (not that we have a problem with that).  PLUS, we ran into a teacher friend of mine who now stays home with her super cute son that is just a few weeks older than Effy.  It was SO great to see her and her sweet baby boy and seeing them will probably be one of our top motivating factors to get to story time.  By the way, a room of 0-18 month olds "listening" to stories for 20 minutes is laughable, yet adorable.

Growing up: Effy now officially has 4 teeth.  Her top two middle teeth came in during her 11th month and she was a champ about it.  It caused her to have 3 or 4 difficult nights, but other than that, she's been so great about it.  Also, she is now officially in a big girl car seat!

Sleep routine: Speaking of sleep, I should jot down what Effy's current sleep routine is like, because it's outstanding.  It's been so nice staying home with her for many reasons, but one reason I love it is because it allows her to run her day how she prefers, as opposed to around the schedule we need her to be on.  She goes to bed between 7:30 and 8, sleeps until around 5 or 6am, nurses, and then goes back to sleep until 8 or 9am. YES.

Meal times: It has become very evident that Effy really prefers to feed herself finger foods.  We've let her feed herself with a spoon a few times, but the finger foods thing is less messy and she eats more, so we'll stick with that for awhile.  Her favorite finger foods include cheese, banana, avocado, cheese, little pieces of meat, black beans, cheese, peaches/plums, and cheese.
Gnawing on a plum.
Student Teaching Visit: A couple years ago, I student taught at the most awesome high school, one that many of my friends from college graduated from.  One of those friends suggested going back to visit, so Ms. Effy came along and met some great peeps that I had the pleasure of working with and now have the pleasure of stalking on Facebook.  Effy will soon be making more trips to the high school I just left so she can help me teach students musical choreography!  Super pumped.

Play dates: Effy has had many wonderful play dates in the last few weeks, but because most of my friends don't have kids, our play dates are Effy playing with MY friends, which none of us complain about.  My dear friend Aly, Effy, and I were all hanging out, running some errands, eating lunch, the usual.  We decided to eat at Winstead's because it is so freakin' delicious.  Effy sat in her high chair, ate some food, and was just generally cute while Aly and I chit chatted and doted on Effy.  When it was time to go, Aly picked Effy up out of the high chair and I froze.  There, sitting in the high chair, was crap.  Like...feces.  Effy had pooped and a large majority of it oozed out.  Now, Effy is clearly in white shorts because that is what smart parents do...put their babies in white pants when they're on diarrhea inducing antibiotics.  Aly is now holding a poopy baby close against her, unaware of the situation in the high chair.  All I can say is, "UHHHH...Aly...".  Now if this was going to happen with any of my friends, Aly is the lady to have with me.  She's a nurse in a pediatric gastroenterology clinic, so she actually gets paid to hang out with kids and their "business", if you will.  She was cool, calm, and collected.  I quickly wiped up the poop and SHOULD have put it in a little ziploc and tossed it in the trashcan outside of the restaurant.  However, in my moment of panic, I apparently thought it was a better idea to clean up the poop and then wrap the poopy wipes up in my empty cheeseburger wrapper and leave it on the table.  I am a HORRIBLE person.  I was not thinking clearly and obviously should have left my waitress a much better tip, besides 20% and some diarrhea.  You live and learn.
A separate antibiotic-induced diarrhea incident that week.  Ahh, parenthood.
Sweet baby girl, it's hard to believe your 1 year birthday is coming up!  You are such a happy baby, always smiling, giggling, and just generally being cute is what you spend your days doing.  We are so blessed that you are our daughter and we love you.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Baby Check: 10 Months

It's so funny to look at Effy's monthly pictures as time has marched on.  Her first couple of months before she could roll or go anywhere, I probably had about 50+ pictures each month.  But this month?  5.  She would smile and then start crawling to a toy (or something that to HER is a toy, like a dust bunny or my dirty shoes).  We'd lay her back down and then repeat the process.  At least she was happy about it!

Okay, Miss Effy, let's review this past month!  I'm rewinding in my head about a week because it's slightly past the 10 month mark now - oops.

Playtime: Effy LOVES to play and crawl and explore and we just follow her where ever she goes.  Her current favorite toy is her small, purple maraca.  Oh man, she could play with that maraca all day and be content.  Scott and I have taken to singing mariachi music so we don't feel left out of her party (or fiesta [oooo, multi-cultural blog entry!].  Effy has always enjoyed rattles, but she cannot yet shake a rattle (or maraca) and not shake her other arm too.  She just looks so enthusiastic!  She also really likes to play with her dog house toy where she can take 3 puppies that rattle in and out of their house.  The best part of this house?  The dog bone [see picture].  Effy crawls around the house with this bone in her mouth and it is pretty much adorable.  
Her other favorite toy is her stacking rings, a baby classic.  She has a wooden Melissa & Doug set, but she prefers to just pick up the stick part of the toy and gag herself with it, so we've been borrowing Grandmama's plastic version, and I think we'll be purchasing one for ourselves.  We also bought Effy a set of wooden blocks.  Scott builds things, Effy knocks them down.  It's a beautiful thing.
A dadda masterpiece.
Effy confusing her blocks for a horse.  Scott's face is AWE-SOME.
Mealtime: Effy's current favorite foods include: cereal, yogurt, cheese, & avocado.  She hasn't been eating as much food lately, but I think it's mostly because we've been offering her purees and she's really into feeding herself.  I'm trying to get better about having more finger food options for her because she tends to eat more and is happier.  However, she never seems starved or super hungry, so I don't stress myself about her having small meals.  She also had her first taste of ice cream this month on the 4th of July.  She enjoyed it, indeed.
Helping Daddy finish up a peach.
Sleeping: Effy still sleeps wonderfully at night.  She goes to bed between 7 & 8, nurses around 5am-ish, and then sleeps until about 8am.  Her napping is still inconsistent.  She naps while in the car, on walks, and if she's being held.  We did some sleep training for the night time stuff, and I know we could do the same method for nap time, but honestly, I don't really mind our current set up.  I LOVE holding her while she sleeps.  It might mean that laundry doesn't always get done or dinner is later than we'd like, but frankly, I don't care.  I love being with my sweet baby girl.
Naptime snuggles.
Other exciting things that happened this month --

Effy's first July 4th!  This is a big holiday with the Dicus family.  In fact, it's so big that we don't even recognize America's not called the 4th of July for us, it's called Dicus Day.  I'm serious.  There are invitations & everything.  There used to be t-shirts before I was a Dicus, and I hope that sometime in the future, that tradition begins again.  Also, for the past few years, Scott and I have attended our city's 4th of July "fest", if you will.  We were so excited to bring Effy along this year!  This is a picture of Effy & I about to get in line for pancakes.  Delightful!  [Side note because I'm thinking about it right now: I didn't take nearly as many pictures this month as I would have liked.  I'm kicking myself for it.  Goal for her 11th month -- take more pictures!  I know that's not a "SMART" goal for all your corporate gurus out there, but DEAL WITH IT.]

I also baked a pie for Dicus Day.  More importantly, I took a picture of it with a pitcher and some hydrangea to look like a Real Simple photoshoot.  I think it worked, no?
Strawberry Blackberry Pie
Oh!  Effy got a wagon.  Not just a regular old wagon.  Effy got a Range Rover wagon.  Here's how it happened...
Me: How do you feel about getting Effy a wagon?  I think she'd like it.
Scott: Sounds good to me.
Me: Let's just get something simple & classic.
Scott: Agreed.
Me: But instead of metal, I'd want plastic, just so it doesn't get too hot.
Scott: Alright, that's fine.
Me: Oh, this one looks good and simple.  I guess it comes with cupholders?  Whatever, looks good.
Scott: Okay, that looks good.
Me: Oh, but this one has a cup holder for the person pulling too.  That could be convenient, right?
Scott: Yea, probably.
Me: Awesome, I'll order it.  I'm so glad we're not getting one of this wagons with a freakin' CANOPY.  Get over yourselves, right?  Anywho, I'll order the wagon.  Oh!  Look at this one, it has the cupholders & everything but it also has seatbacks.  I mean, just from Effy's perspective, I feel like that would be more comfortable, right?
Scott: Yeah, probably.
Me: And it has seat belts, which I guess is good because she's probably a bit wobbly in it right now.
Scott: Yes, safety is good.
Me:  Oh man!  Look at this one!  It has all the same features but then it has an attached cooler thing on the back.  That could be good for like, walking to the park with a lunch or something.
Scott: Yeah, I guess so.
Me: It gets pretty sunny walking to the park.  Do you think we should get a wagon with a canopy?
Scott: Probably.

And that, consumers, is how we go from a $30 wagon to a ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FREAKING DOLLAR AUTOMOBILE WAGON.  Boom.

Here's a picture of Effy in her wagon.  She just looks like such a little lady instead of a baby, it melts my heart.  Also, it looks like we didn't buckle her.  I assure you we want to get our money's worth, so we used all of the wagon's accoutrements, including the seat belt. 

Sad panda, Effy was sick for the first time this month.  I guess I should be grateful that it took 9+ months for her to get sick, but it made me sad none the less.  I thought she sounded a bit snotty when we laid her down for the night and when I went to get her out of her crib in the morning...crusty face McGee was waiting for me.
Holy huge crusty baby face, Batman!
I also noticed that Effy wasn't quite as expressive that morning because her face was being held in place with dried snot.  I'm considering, as I age, to use this technique as an alternative to botox.  I will call it boogtox.  Has a nice ring to it, no?  I would charge $19.99 for a boogtox session with Effy and I.  That's only about 8 sessions until her wagon is paid off.  Perfect.

My dear friend Hännah came in town from NYC and we met up for dinner in Top City.  My dad was out of town for work so a girl's night slumber party was in order -- mama + effy + grandmama.  Effy sleeps very well at my parents house which is great.  Here she is in the morning (with her cute "I just woke up" face) playing in the family room.  Also, her sleepsack makes her look like Jabba the Hutt, in a cute baby sort of way.

This last month also brought Effy's first trip to the pool!  Our dear friend Sarah came back to house/puppy sit at her parents and they have a wonderful pool.  I was anxious to put Effy in this swimsuit:
The suit ended up being a little big but we went with it anyway.  She wasn't sure about the water at first but once both Scott and I were in there floating around with her, she decided it was a-okay.  Many of Sarah's sweet girlfriends were there hanging out and Effy enjoyed getting lots of attention from them.
The picture above is one of the best from the day.  I mentioned that I haven't been taking as many pictures this month, especially with my real camera.  The main reason is because when I do, all the pictures turn out like this one:
Gimme gimme gimme!
Needless to say, most pictures turn into a fight over playing with the camera and then an unhappy little baby.  Sad day.  Oh, we're lucky that none of the pool pictures had nipple.  Effy was all about the nip slip that day.  Tramp.

Perhaps the biggest event in Effy's 10th month was her first trip & plane ride!  We went to New York City and Effy did wonderfully while we were there.  I'm going to do a separate post on the trip, so stay tuned!

Miss Effy, we just want to kiss your face all day.  You are so soft and so wonderful.  I love how you light up when I walk in the room.  I love how you'll reach for me when someone is handing you my way.  I love when I pick you up out of your crib in the morning and you start waving at yourself in the mirror.  You have no idea how all of the simple daily things you do are some of the best things your dad and I have ever experienced.  We love you.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Because who doesn't want to spend money on their boobs?

Oh, that post title made it sound like I was referencing silicone.  I wasn't.  Or was I?  Big announcement: I'm getting implants.

I kid I kid.  I prefer deflated nearly C's.

{Oh...side note before I forget: You should totes like Cubbies & Nooks on FB.  I finally made a page for the blog.  Holla!}

Anywhooo, back to everyone's favorite topic -- my breasts: That being said, I'm excited to share some of my breastfeeding must-haves!  One big advantage of breastfeeding is that it is free.  However, I am a sucker for marketing and I also like products that make life a bit easier.  Effy is almost 10 months old and has exclusively had breastmilk (some from a bottle while I was at work) and I've loved most of the time doing it.  The first couple of weeks sucked (literally!), I'm not going to lie.  However it has been one of the best things about being a mom thus far.  Quiet, snuggly time with my baby multiple times a day?  Done.

Alrighty, here's my list:

Breastfeeding class: We did 3 classes through our hospital before our baby girl arrived and the one we thought was most valuable was the breastfeeding class.  I highly recommend finding one...there is SO much to learn.  There was even a plush boob that we passed around and tried not to giggle at.  Bonus!

Nursing pillow: For probably the first 7 months or so, I used a Boppy, which have become very well-known now in the mama world.  We kept one upstairs and one downstairs as well as one at my parent's house.  I'm very impressed by any mom who doesn't use some type of pillow (regular pillow, nursing pillow, whatever) when feeding their little one.  Even when Effy was extra little and we'd be out and about without a pillow, my arms would get tired and it seemed less comfortable for her, probably because I was just awkward about it.  Oh!  Effy has also thrown up and pooped on her Boppy, so I would also recommend an extra cover for it.  This is my favorite cover we have.

Nursing cover: I have three different nursing cover options to share.  I have one Bebe au Lait and one Hooter Hider (I can't find my print online, but whateves).  Props to to the marketer who though of Hooter Hider -- as I am sure you're reading my blog, dear marketer, please be my friend.  My 3rd nursing cover option is a more flexible and cheaper option...a blanket!  What?!  Shocker.  But seriously, I found a sweet lady on Etsy who we bought some pacifier clips from and she also made me an adjustable strap with clips on both sides, so if Effy is particularly busy kicking or moving her arms while we're trying to eat out in public somewhere, she doesn't expose me.  The Etsy shop I used isn't around anymore, but the strap is similar to this.  My favorite blankets to use are these organic swaddling blankets.  They're cool, soft, and lightweight so little lady doesn't get too hot under there.

Nursing pads: In the early stages of breastfeeding (first couple months), I was leaky lady.  I tried a couple of different nursing pads and found my favorite -- Bamboobies!  Holy crap.  Is that not the best name ever?  Hooter Hiders marketer, you're out.  Bamboobies - you're in!  I have a mixture of regulars and overnights but I actually found the regular ones to be more absorbent than the overnights and they're way less bulky.  If I did this again, I'd only buy the regular.  For me, 4 pairs was enough to get through 1.5 to 2 days.  I also tried some disposable pads but you could see them through clothes and they crinkled in an annoying way.  I also tried Lily Padz and looking back, I think these would have worked better if I had the next product on my list.

Milk Saver: This is hands down one of THE BEST breastfeeding products that nobody talks about!  I'm not sure why I hadn't heard about's awesome and I wish I had found it sooner in our breastfeeding adventure.  If you plan to give your baby a bottle sometime (date night, going back to work, etc), breastmilk becomes more valuable than it already is and this is where the Milk Saver comes in.Okay, when your baby starts a feeding your body says, "Oh, my baby wants milk.  Here have it out of BOTH boobs at the same time."  Inconvenient, Mother Nature.  Inconvenient.  Milk will come out of the side your baby isn't eating on and, before the Milk Saver, I would just put a cloth wipe or dish towel (seriously...LOTS of milk) in front of the side Effy wasn't feeding from and catch milk and throw it away!  The thought makes me want to cry.  Anywho, if you're interested in how their product works, watch this video on their website.  It is a fabulous product!

Fenugreek: When I went back to work and started pumping during the day, my supply dropped.  I called and talked to Effy's pediatrician's office and, among other things, the recommended a supplement called Fenugreek.  It seemed to help my supply and *BONUS* it made my pee, sweat, & skin smell like maple syrup.  I kid you not.  Students occassionally told me I smelled like syrup, pancakes, and the like.  I told them I smeared syrup on myself in preparation for work every day.  They were quite impressed.

Baby Activity app: Especially in those first couple of months, equal nursing from both breasts and starting on the correct side was very important.  To keep track of how long and on which side Effy nursed, we used an iPhone app called Baby Activity.  We also used it to track Effy's diaper habits for awhile.  This was really helpful because the main way to tell if your baby is getting enough milk is by the number of wet diapers they have in a 24 hour period.  The doctor would ask us how many she was having and we'd know exactly how many because of this app.  You can also use it to track any "other" activity like medicines, etc.  OH, and you can sync it between iPhones, so when Mom was babysitting, we'd sync before and after she watched Effy.  Then I'd know the last time she ate, Mom could anticipate a wet diaper, etc.
This can totally be overkill, but you can use it simply too!
Nursing bra: I waited until Effy was born to buy nursing tops and bras because I just couldn't really envision what I would  need.  I ended up with 4 nursing bras, one of wish has ended up being my absolute favorite.  This one is my favorite, but mine isn't racer back, but you get the idea.  It has really nice built-in pads that you can pull out and wash, so if you can't predict how your nursing pads are going to hold up, this bra offers extra security.  It's super soft and I love it!

Nursing tanks: I lived in nursing tanks during maternity leave and now use them as pajamas.  They're super convenient.  I bought this tank in multiple colors and use 'em all the time.

Breastpump: Because I was working full-time, I wanted a really good pump that I could rely on.  Enter the Medela Pump In Style.  This pump has been very good to me, has never malfunctioned, and did exactly what it needed to in order to give meals to my little lady!  I liked the pump in the tote bag because to me the backpack looked a little too much like the mini backpacks I carried around in middle school, sportin' Doc Martens & an Abercrombie baby tee.  Plus, the tote had plenty of room for extra parts, bottles, etc. 

Pumping bra: Something I never anticipated with pumping was that the funnel things don't just like...sunction on to your boobs and stay there.  You would have to sit there and HOLD THEM.  This was NOT an option for me.  I was pumping at work during my plan period and had to grade, lesson plan, send emails, etc while I pumped.  In order to get this done, I purchased this fabulous pumping bra that holds the funnels right where they need to be for hands-free pumping.  MANDATORY.

Those are the main ones I can think of right now.  I would love to hear in the comments any other products, tools, or solutions you've used to help make breastfeeding a smooth process!

Happy lactating!