Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

My favorite version of my favorite Christmas song.
By the Punch Brothers

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Miscellany Monday

- If you've noticed on Pinterest, I've been posting a million music education things (I'm really sorry, by the way, if you have no interest in that.  Feel free to unfollow that board to make your life less stressful and annoying).  This is mostly because I got a new job! I'm now the music teacher at a small private school in town.  Teaching K-8 including band and choir! I'm incredibly excited and nervous.  There is so much freedom with this position because it's a private school and there are only about 15 kids in each grade.  And, did I mention that it's part-time?  This means that I get to STILL be with Ellie half of the week and still work at a job that I have been wanting since I graduated.  I think this is what one might call a win-win situation.  We'll see how it goes when I start mid-January!

- I recently downloaded an awesome app for my OCD list-making self.  It's called Priority Matrix and it's quite exciting.  I can have many different to-do lists and I can even prioritize each to-do on each list.  Thank you!

- Have you ever heard Delilah on the radio? I've always despised her shows. Ever since middle school. I don't know if it's her voice, her cheesy theme, or just her cheesy show, but it really bugs me. Am I the only one?

- I will leave you with this. It makes me laugh over and over and over.
The 40 Most Awkward Cats Of 2013

Merry Christmas Eve eve!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Parenthood: Opinions

*This wasn't originally supposed to be an incredibly long post, but it is.  An incredibly long rant.  You've been warned.*

One thing about parenting that can be incredibly frustrating, confusing, and/or disheartening is all of the opinions the entire world has about parenting.

Before having Ellie I had thought I had all of my parenting desires and plans laid out.  I thought that everything I wanted to do I knew and somehow it would all just fall into place.  Well, you don't really get to decide exactly when and how everything falls into place.  Nor do you get to decide exactly what it is you want right away.  Okay, maybe you do get a few things exactly the way you want them, but still...

So what do you do when you have questions about parenting or baby gas relief or even just packing a diaper bag?  Well, you research.  And yes, I did research what to pack in a diaper bag.  Don't lie, you did (or will do) it too.  And the place to research is: the internet.

The internet.

It's amazing.  It can give you the best of the best sites to find information on everything you may need to know.  It can give you advice on books to read, techniques to try, the best products to buy, and so much more. 

But, it can also tell you the exact opposite.

I've learned that you almost HAVE to take everything you read, and even hear, with a grain of salt. 

I'm a part of a mom group on Facebook that is meant to be a place for other moms to ask questions and get support on many, many parenting things.  It's been very nice to hear of other moms going through exactly what I'm going through.  It's also quite comforting, and I'm going to be brutally honest here because we are all this way, to know that some moms are going through the same things you are, but much worse.  It makes you take a different look on it all and realize that you really don't have it that bad. 

Recently I've been doing a lot of reading and research on sleeping. 
It's one of the most discussed issues of moms. 

Things like: "Why won't my baby sleep through the night?" "How do I get my baby to not nurse to sleep?" "Should I let my baby cry it out?" "How do you get your baby on a schedule?"

These questions litter baby forums.  It's terrible too because there are so many parents with all different experiences and opinions on what you should do because it's what they did.

You can decide you want your baby to decide his/her own schedule by following their cues, you can start a strict eat/sleep schedule for your baby so you can plan your life/outings around your baby, or you can do a combination of both.  There are books, articles, forum posts, and more books on each of these.

Babywise, Happiest Baby on the Block, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, The Baby Sleep Book, and so much more.  It's overwhelming!  Many people claim that each one worked wonders for them and their little ones.  But how do you even start?

I keep fighting the urge to do any of these, or finish reading any of them, and just let Ellie make her own schedule.

I would love for her to have a set schedule, but I don't want to set a strict schedule because it entails working incredibly hard and listening to her cry and cry and cry.  That's not what I want to do.

I would love for her to just set her own schedule, but I know that right now, it tends to jump back and forth between a really nice and easy day to a difficult no-nap and very sleepy day. 

I would love for her to be like other "perfect" babies who sleep through the night at 2 1/2 months or are able to take a bottle no problem, but I want her to be her own self.  I want her to be my own child who does her own things her own way.  Although this no bottle thing is going to drive me crazy.

It's frustrating.  I agree with different aspects of different books/theories and yet I don't want to follow one specific idea because it tends to be in the extreme.  

We don't co-sleep because our bed just isn't big enough, Nick is a really sound sleeper, and I'm just not entirely comfortable with that all the time.  I'd rather just have the occasional nap together on the bed.
I also don't let her cry for more than a few minutes because I don't like listening to her scream when I know I can easily soothe her back to sleep.  Plus, many people state that you can't spoil a baby and they won't get attached to the idea of screaming for you to calm down them down. But, many people will claim the exact opposite of those statements.

Do you see where it gets frustrating, confusing, and annoying?

No babies are the same, so why are we saying that they are?  Why are we trying to get babies to be on the same schedule? 

I don't know and I'm trying not to get carried away with everyone's opinions.

For now, all I need to know is that my daughter is happy, well-fed, and alive.  Everything else will just fall into place over time, right?  I'll just keep telling myself that.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Everything comes in threes

Have you ever heard of that saying?  Everything comes in threes? I've heard it quite a few times lately.  Sometimes it seems like everything does happen in threes, but really?  Is that a thing?

Well, whether it does or makes for a great blog post!

3 things that broke last week (the inspiration for this post):
- Nick's saxophone the day before a gig.
- Nick's mandolin (a lot easier to fix than the saxophone)
- Our computer.  It just won't start.  Luckily we both have laptops from our college days that STILL work.

3 of my recent favorite movies:
- Robot and Frank.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch it or not, but I saw that it got good reviews on rotten tomatoes (our go-to for movie ratings) so I gave it a shot.  It's pretty fun.  You should check it out on Netflix.

- Europa Report.  A crazy sci-fi film made to look like a documentary about Jupiter's largest moon.  It's pretty crazy and incredibly captivating.

- Lord of the Rings.  Okay okay, it's not recent, but I'm currently watching it and I just had to say it.

3 parenting things you don't think will be difficult (but can be a real pain in the butt):
- Buttons.   Terrible, terrible things.  Especially at night and in the dark.

- Feeding a very happy baby.  She becomes too talkative and smiley to eat.  It's annoyingly cute.

- Babysitters.  It's a battle.  Taking babysitters when they are available, but not overdoing it.  I'm so worried that we're going to take advantage of family members that offer to babysit.  It's also a battle because she has a hard time going to sleep on her own without being nursed to sleep.  We're working on it..

3 things I can't get enough of:
- Baby cuddles.  She squirms too much most of the time to cuddle with me.
- Hanging out with Nick.  He works way too much and has way too many extra activities.
- Great Christmas movies.  The Holiday, White Christmas, Christmas Story... need I continue?

3 things that have taken over my/our minds:
- Cob/straw bale houses.  My grandma had a book about cob housing that she picked up from the library just for fun, and now Nick and I have a whole new outlook on our future.  We are hoping to one day build our own house.  Nick is more adamant about it than I am.  I mean, what man doesn't want to build his own house for his family?  It will also save us a lot of money and we'll get to be eco-friendly.  I'll explain it more someday.

- Nap time.  Ellie refuses to take long naps in her crib.  Nighttime is wonderful because she will sleep in her crib perfectly.  Daytime, however, is a battle because she'll only sleep for small chunks of time and then wake up tired.  UNLESS, she sleeps in her swing.  Then she can sleep for a couple of hours and wake up completely refreshed and happy.

- Christmas.  Of course this is because it is only a week away and I haven't bought half of the gifts I was planning on.  That's the chore for tomorrow (goodie!).  I also JUST sent out our Christmas cards today.  A little late, but oh well.  Anybody want to swap cards??

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Easy Canvas Prints

Note: I was given a free product for this post in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own

Nick and I share mostly the same views about what goes on our walls.  I say mostly because he really doesn't like pictures of us on the wall.  While I enjoy a cute couples picture or two or four up there, he thinks it's just silly to look at ourselves all the time.  So, we compromise and I get one or two. (as long as he thinks they're appropriate).

We both, however, agree that anything else that goes up should be something that was made by someone we know (like a canvas print from a good friend).  If not someone we know, then it has to at least be handmade and have a meaning behind it (like a painting we won at an art auction).

So, when Easy Canvas Prints asked if I wanted to do a review of their products I quickly jumped at the opportunity because who doesn't love a beautiful canvas print? Plus, we've been looking for reasons to get more photographs up on our walls and Nick's friend and co-worker, Alex, has some pretty amazing photography skills that we have been admiring.

Their website is incredibly easy to use AND they offer tons of options for how you may want your picture wrapped, mounted, etc. on the canvas itself.  I honestly had no idea there were that many options to choose from.

I ordered my canvas and had it at my door (during the holiday season) within a week and a half.  Not too bad for the holidays and being a print.

I am incredibly pleased with how easy it was to get the canvas and with how beautiful it turned out!

Photograph done by Alex Pollitt
Canvas prints do tend to be a little pricey, like most good things, but they usually have decent deals and they're even doing a great one right now!

Easy Canvas Prints has decided to give you, my reader(s), a coupon code good for half off of all canvas prints PLUS free shipping!  Use the code: 50freeship at checkout Just in time to get all of your cute Christmas card pictures done, right?  Right. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Miscellany Monday

- We took Ellie up snowshoeing for the first time yesterday.  Well, we had the intention of taking her out snowshoeing.  We remembered everything (even double-checked), including the snowshoes, but somehow forgot the baby carrier.  So that meant we had to carry her the whole time.  A lot more work than it seems.

There actually wasn't much snow in the area where we were going either, so we just ended up hiking around to see how she would do out in the cold.

She did surprisingly well (even with my motherly worries bugging Nick the whole time) and stayed really warm in her warm puffy.

- I'm still working on our Christmas card.  A little late, don't ya think?  *Sigh* We'll get there.

- I love Christmas music.  Especially when it's simple and not overly embellished (like a lot of these modern pop ones).  My all-time favorite Christmas albums are done by: Sufjan Stevens, Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi Trio (the Charlie Brown Christmas), Harry Connick Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Bing Crosby (of course). 

- Nick and I discussed our 5-year plan yesterday.  If everything goes really well (right...) then we will be debt-free and may be on our way to owning a piece of land and designing a house.  Note: not just any house, but a cob house.  An eco-friendly house.  The idea just seems even better the more we discuss it and research it.

- This Blues Brothers lego re-creation is amazing.  People have a lot of patience and a lot of free time.  But that's okay with me if it entertains me.

- I don't really have anything else today.  My brain is fried and I'm hungry.  Ask me again next week.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Live blogging: Tuesday

*Yes, I realize Tuesday was yesterday, but I wrote most of this from my phone and it desperately needed to get edited afterwards.  Just bear with me*

I saw this done by Angi and I thought it was a pretty fun idea, especially since I hang out around the house most of the day anyways.  Easy right?  We'll see...

5:41 am: Feeding time. Also, changing diapers in the dark makes you feel like a champion. Who needs night vision goggles?

6:11 am: I had to put her in the swing to sleep. I hate doing that. I want her to just sleep in the crib so we don't have potential issues later. But, I really want to go back to sleep and right now she has gas issues so putting her in the crib means she's going to be fussy and will wake herself up.. I'm selfish and tired. Don't judge me.

6:13 am: Nick's alarm is annoying. It always bugs me because it seems so loud and it might just wake up Ellie. I'll kill him if it ever does.  Love you!

9:53 am: Well, that makes this about 7 hours of sleep tonight. Not too terrible, but I'm going to need a serious nap if I want to survive the rest of the day without being incredibly lazy.

10:10 am: This is a reoccurring problem we have. She doesn't want to eat and just wants to talk. It's too cute to be annoying.

10:30 am: Diapers in the washing machine (my favorite time of the week...) and boiled eggs and toast for breakfast. Yes, I realize it's late but this is life when dealing with a wonky schedule.  Is wonky the right word?

11:25 am: She is super tired and getting fussy. I have to feed her while bouncing on the yoga ball. I'll let you just picture how that might look. Why does the yoga ball soothe her so?  Probably because I bounced non-stop the last 3 weeks of pregnancy.  You've been warned.  I think once she calms down I'll put her in the swing and if she doesn't fall asleep I'll vacuum.

11:33 am: Well, she fell asleep but woke up when I put her down. Figures. Time to vacuum. 

11:45 am: I did it, but she just stared at me the whole time. I guess I'll go finish washing diapers and see what happens. She just needs to sleep!

12:02 pm: Hung up diapers outside! It's pretty windy, super cold, but very sunny. I just want them to get sun-bleached again.  Everything is better with a little sun.  I can always throw them in the dryer if they get frozen.

12:24 pm: She is getting pretty darn upset. I think it's nap time for both of us. Time to feed her while lying on the bed! Have I mentioned that I'm still in my PJ's (or is it PJs)?

12:44 pm: Still not sleeping...

12:56 pm: *seven minutes earlier* Ellie: I'm asleep mom! Go take your nap now. *fast forward to now* hah! Just kidding. I'm going to escape my swaddle now. Stinker.

1:16 pm: This is ridiculous. I need the swing.

2:09 pm: Well, a 30 minute nap it is.  I'm still tired, but now I'm incredibly hungry.  Time for some lunch and green tea.  Green tea will save me from sleepiness.  By the way, I got dressed!  Go mom!

3:06 pm: Diaper rashes suck. She's had one for way too long. It's not incredibly nasty, but it's just red. I'm going to google ideas.

3:08 pm: Maybe it's the wipes! Someone else had a problem with wipes being the main cause of it all. That would make sense since we've tried different diapers (switching from cloth to disposable for a few days) and it didn't do much.  Thanks Google!

3:13 pm: An hour later and she's tired and hungry again. I'm thinking of trying a new swaddle technique I saw on Pinterest. Maybe this will help her sleep harder, better  and longer.  At least I ate some food and finished my laundry!

3:30 pm: Success!

4:03 pm: Just kidding. We'll try again.

4:15 pm: No success. Going to go work on a puzzle with my 10 year old cousin downstairs.  Ellie can just hang out and be cute.
5:40 pm: Playing quizup against Nick.  Destroying him at this General Knowledge category. This is how we converse when we're trying to be quiet and get her to sleep. An extremely addicting app.

8:46 pm: After only a 30 minute nap since her last one, its no wonder why she's so incredibly crabby and refusing to sleep. Nick and I had to switch off bouncing on the yoga ball just to get her to quiet down. I finally got her to eat a little (hence the reason for this update) and hopefully she'll stay asleep. I'm hoping it's not a long night, but it easily could be with an overly tired little girl.

Well, that's just a glimpse of a normal sleepless day.  Filled with diapers, fighting sleep (and sleepiness), pajamas, and a cute baby.  Maybe we'll try this again on a better day.  Or at least when my days get a little more interesting.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Miscellany Monday: On-time edition

- I have an informal interview this week for a potential part-time music teacher gig.  Keep your fingers crossed!

- I have yet to understand why Black Friday is such a huge disatrous deal.  People are hurting each other to get something that they really don't need.  AND most of the time you can get the same deal online or some other time of the year (it's just not as heavily advertised).  I do enjoy finding great deals on cheap movies and things, but it's not worth the insane lines and brutal people.

- Ellie has her check-up this week.  I'm pretty excited to see how she's grown!  Her last check-up was when she was 1 month.  We were supposed to do a 2 month one, but it was inconveniently cancelled because of annoying insurance things that I don't want to get into.  Anyways, I haven't heard how much she weighs or how long she is since then (besides our at-home measurements which probably aren't that accurate).

- Toast with honey and sea salt is really the best.  Try it.

- All I want for Christmas is a ton of gift cards/money so I can spend it all on shopping.  I am enjoying having my post-pregnancy body back way too much.

- My mosaic is finally coming along!  All I have left is to add some blue tiles for the sky and some tan ones for a little more contrast and hill-like background, and add the grout on top.  Mosaic work has become one of my new favorite hobbies that I really enjoy, but I should probably work on smaller projects after this.  This one is just incredibly big and time consuming, especially with a baby.  It's around 36" x 20", just FYI.