Sunday, June 2, 2013

How to acclimate a [neurotic] dog to the baby

Let me be clear...I'm not one of those people who "forgets" about the dog as soon as the baby comes.  Several mommy friends of mine assured me that I would.  Our two dogs have been part of the family for many years - the older one for over 15 and the younger for almost 6.  So integrating the baby into the household with as little disruption to doggie/family existence was key.  I wasn't worried about integrating the baby with our older dog b/c he's very chill...and extremely old.  But the younger one is very highly neurotic, attached to his mama, and unpredictable around new things.  So I waited for Fiona's arrival with a lot of anticipation but also ALOT of worry about how my baby boy dog would react.

We worked with our trainer to get ready before she got here.  He wrote this great article for the Huffington Post about just this very topic....which gives you most of the tips and tricks that you'd expect.  Together we also had to admit that he needed a little Prozac help just to get him closer to being ready.  For him Prozac is not a magic pill, but it does help take the edge off so that he can more easily deal with new ideas and new people.

But honestly the thing that I think has helped us THE MOST is that starting when Fiona was only about a month old, we started putting treats in her hand and had her "give the dog a treat."  We made our Boston lay down and then take the treat very gently.  And once he got his treat, she'd get to "pet the dog" very gently.  We repeated this each day.

Now he pretty much ONLY gets treats from Fiona each day and never from us, and it's become something that she loves to do now that she's old enough to notice the dog.  And the best part is that the dog has gotten SOOOOO much more comfortable being around her.  Obviously we're always paying attention and supervising their interaction, but I'm no longer filled with the same worry as before.

Now I'm thrilled that our beloved dog looks forward to the treat-giver each day.  :-)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Baby Update: 6 months later

Lots of things have been going on since I last posted.  Mostly just being a mom stuff though.  It's been great.  F is SO big now. She's already wearing 12 month clothes even though she's only 6 months.  At her checkup she was 28" long!  And she's finally started taking solid food....although not well.  She really hates it.  One of the only ways we've been getting her to eat is by using the kidsme baby feeder.  It's a miracle for anyone whose baby doesn't want to accept a spoon into her mouth no matter what. 

Here are a few pics to show how she's growing! 

She's a budding fashionista thanks to our friends who love to give her baby outfits.

She's been sleeping  through the night since 2 we feel extremely fortunate for that.  She's also a pretty good napper too.  (As seen here!!)

And even though it's not a baby can see what Brooklyn looks like in 90 degree weather!!  :-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Milk Donation

Just a reminder to whomever that is an awesome resource to those of you that cannot breastfeed!  We were lucky enough to meet a mom yesterday who wanted to donate a massive amount of milk to Fiona!  More than we could even fit in our cooler, and had to leave the rest with her to pick up in the future.  The whole bottom drawer is filled!!  (Not to mention a few in the other drawers too!!)  We barely have any room for food!!!

Looks like the baby isn't going to need any formula for quite some time!  Especially since both moms that are donating to us are still producing!!!!  I've just never been so thankful!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Small Apartment + Baby = Yes, it's possible!

I've posted before about our apartment and how small it is.  Before the baby got here, I was really worried about how (and where) we'd fit everything in....and if we'd be able to do it stylishly to boot.  Well, I'm happy to say that we didn't end up putting the baby in the closet...mainly because we couldn't figure out another place to put our clothes.  It turns out we made the right decision!  (Note, "baby in the closet"  is a completely valid and necessary option for many of my fellow city-dwellers.  It seems hard to imagine for everyone living in spaces where space is no big deal...but here space is at a premium.)

So since the nursery is finished and we're currently living with a baby in only 679 square feet, I thought I'd show you how we did it.  As well as thoughts on how to do it on a budget!  (Because we furnished and decorated our nursery for almost no $.)

Fiona's room is 12 feet x 8 feet, with a small closet.  It was originally our "living room."  We were a little worried about getting rid of a space where we could hang out, but we took a weekend and played with rearranging the furniture in the apartment to see what would work where.  And we were sufficiently happy with our loveseat in our "dining room/office."  Now that space is a catch-all room but it works.  And this freed up this small room for the baby!

Looking into the baby's room from our bedroom.
Seeing as how it's not a big space, I didn't want to get a full-size crib.  This was a tough decision b/c there aren't a lot of [cute] options for mini-cribs, and even less options for mini-crib bedding.  But I found this crib by DaVinci.  It's the Davinci Alpha Mini Rocking Crib.  It has the bonus of also being super inexpensive, especially compared to most full-sized crib.  Because it only cost a little more than $100, I was able to register for it and my mom bought it for us!  It's great b/c when F was really tiny, we were able to rock her to sleep in it.  Sure it might not last us quite as long as a normal full-size crib, but I figure we'll just transition to a low toddler bed sooner.  Plus the reviews on this were great.  And I must agree that I concur with them.

The overall "theme" of the nursery is loosely based on a children's book called "Maude & Claude Go Abroad."  But really the book was just a way to tie together a lot of different things we loved.  Foxes, Travel Maps, Whales...and all with a girly, vintage twist.  Well, that's a pretty esoteric bunch of things that most people wouldn't think would go together.  But my basic principle in decorating is to use objects in your design that really speak to you.  You know...pull at your heartstrings.  If you're using items and colors that you love, they will naturally start to go together.  Most people gravitate towards similar colors, themes, etc.  Because of that, most of those items will naturally go together.  And even if a few items are off, it adds the touch needed to make the room feel personal.  I knew what I wanted, but the book was something I found via a google search for vintage kids books with foxes.  It later inspired the mobile and artwork (gifted to us from a friend).

We bought this little fox toy on clearance, and it was a starting point for the theme.

One thing I try to always keep in mind when decorating is saving money and re-using as much as possible.  So I looked for things on Craigslist, parent email lists, and the street (on trash day).   Our old tv cabinet was re-purposed as a catch-all toy storage unit.  All the artwork here was either gifted or printed from the internet.  I didn't want to buy expensive artwork when I knew that I might get tired of it.  (Or Fiona might not like it when she got older.)  The vintage Fisher-Price globe is a light that N has had for many years and got a thrift shop.  Likewise, we used old suitcases in the design here b/c our theme involved travel...but also because we already owned them and use them to store extra stuff that we don't want on display.  The rug is an old piece of remnant wool carpet that we had bound.  (Great, soft place for tummy time!)  The bunting is recycled from our wedding and was made from old scrap fabric we had.  The chandelier is one that I was given years ago, and have taken with us to each new place that we've lived.

This used to be our tv cabinet.  Now it's been re-purposed for all of Fiona's toys & books. 
We love shopping at flea markets and thrift shops.  Here's a hodge-podge of what we collected, were given and so forth.  The artwork in the background are three foxes on a ship in the storm!  Love it!  

Not glamorous, but here's where we get the business done!  I found this old Ikea changing table on the street on trash day.  I took it home, cleaned it up, painted it, changed the hardware and added baskets.  Now it looks great!  The only thing that was tough was finding a changing pad to fit since the Ikea dimensions were irregular.  Well, it turns out that sells custom sized changing pads and covers for pretty cheap.  Problem solved and we spent a total of $30 on it.  I really like this style changing table too b/c we are able to use it for her clothes and diaper stuff.  PB Kids sells a similarly-styled small one called the Catalina Dresser for anyone looking for something really small for their small space nursery.  When you're looking to fit something in a tight space, every inch I was glad this worked!

Again, the artwork was stuff we already had or printed from the internet.
Some moms have told me that they could get along without a glider, but I'm glad we got one.  Sure, I don't mind feeding her on the sofa...but this makes feeding time a pleasure.  And these things are expensive, so I was glad to find this one on Craigslist for $75.  
The old blanket is something that clearly doesn't match, but it goes with our overall vintage, eclectic feel of the apartment...and I like that it helps cut some of the girly-ness of the pink.  I would have had virtually no pink for her room, but we were gifted the toy tub (right of the glider) and we wanted blackout curtains, and these were the least offensive ones we could find.  (The curtains were the most expensive things we purchased from PB Kids.)  We didn't have room for a real side table here, so we used another old suitcase on it's side for Fiona's bottles, the timer, and dog treats...y'know because the dogs need love too.

Our friend painted this for Fiona as a baby gift.  It's a page from the Maude & Claude book...with her name incorporated into it obviously.  And rather than buy a mobile, my husband spent three days making this custom one out of felt.  

 So that's it!  I think we spent less than $200 total on the nursery and it came out the way I'd hoped, eg. not-girly, not-princessy.  Fits with our overall apartment....since we have to live with it constantly.  (It's not a room we can close off...but one we have to walk-through constantly to get to our bedroom.)  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Breast milk or Formula?!

We know that breast milk wins in the battle between formula and milk from the boob.  It even states that breast milk is better for the baby on formula packaging!  So of course, I'm not going to dispute the facts.  But I am going to say that for those of us NOT able to breastfeed, you may feel a bit like a pariah when hanging out with your other mommy friends who all proudly have their baby latched onto their boob at the local bar.  (Hey, it's where my mommy group meets up, okay!)

There's a lot of emotions/worry/fear/anxiety that comes along with raising a child in modern day America.  A ton of those which relate directly to how you're doing as a mom and the choices you make each day.  Are you holding your child non-stop?  Do you let the tv play in her presence?  Do you only eat organic food so that her breastmilk is the best ever?

I chronicled my own attempts to induce lactation and alas it was not to be.  I did however gain 15 lbs that I can't seem to lose.  (It all sits on my hips and abdomen too by  the way.  You'd think it would go to my boobs....but noooooooo.)  Because literally every other mom I know is breastfeeding, I do feel a bit self-conscious about whipping out the bottle.  Another reminder that my pregnancy wasn't "the normal one."  But thanks to my friend Tonya and the website Milkshare, I've been able to secure a decent amount of supplementary breast milk for Fiona.  Not enough to sustain her of course, but enough so that I joke each bottle is adding another point to her future SAT scores.  LOL.

Anyways, I post this so that other moms who can't breastfeed know that they're not alone.  And I also wanted to post a link to Milkshare b/c there are other awesome moms out there who have more milk supply than they know what to do with, and are happy to donate to moms who can't produce.  Thankfully, I've found a new mom who's daughter is two days older than Fiona who is donating all her extra to us on an ongoing basis.  I simply cannot express how amazed I am at how giving other people are.

The news media would have us believe that the world is nothing but evil people, and keep us in fear.  But each day, I am humbled by the kind and generous people I meet.

And lastly, our little gal doesn't seem to be doing so bad on mostly formula!  She's a little chunker that is already weighing in at 11 lbs.  She's 6 weeks old today!   Man, do I love a chubby baby.  :-)

My little lamb...and her lamb.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's been a banner year.  So much has happened, and I have so much to be thankful for.  2012 has proven to me how wonderful and giving others can be.  I've found community, love, hope, and a bounty of blessings.   And of course, I gained a beautiful baby daughter that I still cannot believe is here...and is in my keeping.  She'll call me mama.  Sometimes it doesn't seem real.

I hope that in the year to come, I am able to stress less, and love more.  I want to strive to be the best mom and wife I can be.  Family and friends are the most important things.  I want to cherish them as much as possible this year.  And each year after that.

Friday, December 28, 2012

5 weeks in!

Well, I thought I'd pop in to say that things have been going so well since Fiona was born.   I know that I've been slack on updating the blog, but frankly I've had so much else going on with her and the holidays that I haven't really thought about it much.  But everything here is good.  She's now a little over 5 weeks old, and has been sleeping and eating well.  She's already up to almost 11 lbs.  And generally we're getting 6 hour stretches at night of sleep.  (I know.....amazing!)  This is what she looks like with all that sleeping...

Little mouth-breather.  LOL!

Thanks to Tonya, we were able to get hooked up with some donated breast milk for Fiona since I wasn't able to lactate.  Still haven't lost all the weight I gained from all those hormones by the way.  :-(   Other than that, Fiona has been on formula...and I think that's a big reason that she's sleeping so well.  That and we're big fans of seeing if she'll self-soothe first before picking her up during the middle of the night.  So far the combination of those two things has been working.

There are a ton of other things to say of course, but I hardly know where to start.  We just love her so much, and overall we feel so blessed.  At the start of this journey, it seemed hard to believe that we would end up with a baby.  I know that was the desired result, but it still seemed like a foreign concept that it would really happen.  And yet, here we are a year later.  And it's hard to imagine what life was like beforehand...

Someone's fox hat is still a little too big!

N has already started plotting for our next one.  Haha.  Of course, that will be several years away assuming we could even do it.  But I have to admit that we both know why people fall in love with babies.  I could just breathe her smell all day long...  :-)

Our little Christmas elf!

She's definitely the best Christmas present we could have ever asked for...