Our Boys

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The big 3-0...

today, i turn 30.
i said it. 
it doesn't bother me. 
i belive that age is nothing but a number.

as i enter this whole new decade it's so fun to look back and see what my 20s gave to me. they gave me my first time away from home at a beautiful college and a chance to make some lifelong friends. they gave me a college degree that allowed me to do what i love; allowed me to offer a gift that i have to children and young adults with special needs. they gave me fun times with my family, both at home and on vacations.
they gave me a trip a to myrtle beach where i was young and wild and free with those lifelong friends and where i met a young man named brett. they gave me a job right out of college where i gained some confidence in my profession even though i made little money. they gave me the chance to watch my "little" brothers grow up (they were 8 and 10 when i entered my 20s and now they're 18 and 20). my 20s gave me a wedding that was more beautiful and memorable than i deserved. i had my mom and dad beside me as well as so many friends and family to watch me marry my best friend. they gave me the chance to leave my family a strong and confident young woman and try my hand at being a wife. they led me to a new home and the opportunity to belong somewhere else, to buy a house and create a home and make new friendships that also will last a  lifetime. they gave me trips between IL and PA to spend time with those i am physically far from, but in my mind we are always together. they gave me 5 years of memories with my husband - doing so many things that we were so blessed to be able to do. they gave me my first baby, lucy, and then another, tucker, who allowed me to figure out how to care for "someone" other than myself. and finally my 20s gave me a son. they gave me the chance to be a mom and parent a sweet little boy right along side that boy i met so many years ago in myrtle beach.

what advice would i give my 20 year old self? absolutely none. the last 10 years of my life have brought me to where i am, and i wouldn't want to be anywhere else but here.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I can't wait for this weekend! My family will be together again for the first time since June. Ben has been at basic training in Fort Benning for 9 weeks and graduated yesterday. Our whole family is so proud of him!

On Saturday, Scotty starts a new chapter  - college. We all have no doubt he will make the best of it and have a wonderful time. We only hope he remembers why he's there (love you buddy!).

So, we are driving to Dayton early Saturday morning to help scotty move in and spend our first family weekend together in quite a while. It is bittersweet because while I can't wait to see them all, there comes the realization that my "little" (they are both like 9 feet tall) are growing up. Most likely we won't all be under the same roof again until the holidays. I am so proud of both of them in such unique ways. They couldn't be more different, but so special in their own way. Ben has always been known as  gentle giant. He is soft spoken and carries himself with grace. Scott has always been the one with "the personality". He can walk into a room and everyone instantly loves him. They both have so much to offer and will do great things, no doubt! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

O-Dawg is a quarter of a year old!

Oh, Owen! I think I will ask this question every month, but "How are you 3 months old?" I have to tell you, I've been a little more emotional approaching this monthly birthday because you are just getting so big. This week, you helped me officially pack away your three month clothes without tears by laughing at me when I told you a story about every outfit.
We love to go for walks, well, I walk and you fall asleep in the Moby.
I swear you become more of a person each day. You smile so much now and your laugh makes your daddy and I crack up every time. You are becoming more vocal and more independent. You continue to LOVE your activity gym and I can leave you playing in your room all by yourself. You entertain yourself by grabbing at all the toys, kicking your music box and yelling so loud. I still read to you every day and you are starting to make it more difficult because you grab at the pages. This morning, you wrapped your little fingers around the pinwheel on your changing table and threw it over your head. We both laughed.

You LOVE to be naked!
This month, we have spent more time at home and worked at you getting used to eating, playing and sleeping on a schedule. You took to it so easily! You eat every three hours like clockwork and if I am late feeding you, you let me know! We are still tweaking your bed time because as you continue to play more and more during the day, you are tired at night. You are going to bed now between 7:30 and 8:00 and you sleep until 4:00/ 4:30.
Just one of your funny new faces 
You are more aware of the puppies now, and I think you have a special relationship with Tucker. Lucy isn't interested in you quite yet, but I think that will change when you become mobile. Tucker doesn't leave your side. He lays at your feet while you play and you love to kick the heck out of him an rub your tootsies through his fur. When you nap, he naps in your room on your chair.

Highlights this month

Your first trip to the Bean.
Hanging with Camille in the backseat after our long day in Chicago
Your puppies are always close even during a smelly diaper change.
You think Dad is the funniest thing in the world! You guys have a routine - every night when dad gets home he takes you downstairs and makes you laugh your head off!
You are turning into our little man...


All last week, I was looking forward to Saturday night. Brett and I were going out. Like, for real. We were meeting at Natalie and Jason's house and there would be a BABYSITTER to stay with Owen and Camille. They love each other, so even Owen was looking forward to it.  I was so excited I was even stressing over what to wear. Saturday evening came, and I was ready. Dressed by 3:00 and diaper bag packed (with everthing the boy could need for a month). We got to their house about 5:00, and walked in....

There was  no babysitter, but rather tons of our friends there to celebrate!
I was absolutely shocked! Everyone asked if I had any clue about the party and I really didn't. The only thing that I had thought a bit off was that Brett had not asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I leave this weekend for two weeks. That's unlike him since he usually has something in mind. I also told everyone that had I known anything about the party, 1.) I would not have walked in wearing my hideous yellow raincoat and 2.) I would have changed Owen out of his poopy clothes before we left the house.

The party was a blast. Brett ordered way too much food from Portillo's, extra chopped chicken salad just for me, and Natalie did an amazing job (as always) of creating such a warm and fun party atmosphere. Her house is always beautiful and she put on quite a spread of munchies and desserts.

It's amazing how things have changed though. Most of the guests had to leave early, because well, bed time for little ones is not to be missed. Owen was an angel and slept on their bed until midnight so we could celebrate a bit later.

Over and over, I continue to be amazed by the generosity and friendships that our friends provide. It was wonderful celebrating this milestone with everyone!
Thanks to my mom, there was a wonderful picture on the cake from my freshman year in high school!

Our little man did a great job of keeping the secret!

To top off this fabulous weekend, Brett told me Saturday night that I would be spending Sunday at the Coldwater Creek Spa, a combination "Happy birthday" and "New Mommy" gift. It was heavenly!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Dig The Stay At Home Mom Gig

Owen turned 3 months yesterday (post coming soon...the little stinker wasn't cooperating for his photo shoot), which means I have officially been off work for 3 months and a few days (remember that baby free maternity leave that was cut short by having a baby?) and as of Monday have exactly 12 weeks to go. Yep - the new school year starts on Monday and thus begins the countdown to me return to the "real" world. The world of getting up early (even earlier than I do now), taking a shower (not at 3:00), getting dressed (in something other than running shorts (if only it was to run in) and a t-shirt), and getting out the door (not to Target). *sigh*

Before Owen was born, this phrase passed my lips on more than one occasion - "I could never be a stay at home mom. I don't know what I would do all day." Well, part of that is true - on most days I look back and am not sure what I did all day - but the other part was me being naive. I could TOTALLY be a stay at home mom. I absolutely adore it and think that there is no other job in the world that compares to raising our son. It makes me sad to think that come November, someone else will be the one to wipe his butt, clean up his spit up, and hear the ear piercing cry when he is beyond hungry. To many people, that may not sound like fun but I consider it a privilege to do these things every day. It is things like this morning, when I walked up to his crib and he smiled at me, lifted both legs, rolled to his side, and farted that makes me proud to be the Mommy of this sweet little boy. Why would I consider that a privilege? Well, it's easy to love on a  baby when they are happy and smiling, but it's a little more work when you are wrangling this baby and his new found love of kicking his feet in his poopy diaper. But I am the one who gets to do it. I am the one who gets handed the baby in a group of people when he starts to fuss. I like being "the one". I guess that may not make sense to everyone.

A lot of people's response to this post would be that anything is possible and that if I really wanted to stay home, that we could make it work. That's true. But, we have made a decision that we feel is best for our family (at least for now) to continue working. Being a 2 income family allows us to do things we would not otherwise be able to do if I didn't work. This may sound silly, but I can't wait to take Owen to Disney World and that trip would be a lot farther off if I didn't work. Also, being a teacher gives me a schedule that most mom's would drool over. I get to work decent hours, have every night, weekend, and holiday off and get several weeks throughout the year and summer break to look forward to. It really is a win-win situation.

As for Owen, I know that Brett and I are the best people to raise him. On the other hand, going to a sitter allows his world to be a little bigger. It allows him to learn life skills like sharing and will help him to understand that the world is a bigger place than just him and his home. I want him to know these things. I want him to be a patient and kind young man and I truly believe that some time away from us and with other people can teach him these things better than we can. Part of this might be me convincing myself of these things, but one thing is for sure - I want the best or our son!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Why on Earth are you using cloth diapers?"

Since I made the decision to use cloth diapers, I have gotten this question a lot and I get it. Disposables are easy and can be affordable with the right research. Basically there are 3 reasons that I made the decision (and then got Brett on board) with the cloths.

1. Cost - Initially cloth diapers are expensive because individually they do cost a bit, but you are basically buying (hopefully) all the diapers your baby will need at one time. You may need to purchase a few additional ones due to size, comfort, absorbency, etc. but you basically have all you need.
2. Waste - Not the waste that comes in the diapers, haha! We are not crazy Earth conscious people but we do try to recycle, conserve when we can, and do our small part. In addition, where we live charges for garbage by the bag so we are even more into recycling for that reason. We knew that disposables would likely increase the amount of times we had to put trash out and therefore be an additional cost.

3. "What's in a  disposable?" - Again, we aren't crazy natural people but when I can choose something that is not made of chemicals, I do, and that is just what is inside a disposable diaper. I don't know what it is, but I know it's not natural. 
One of Owen's first days in a cloth (Grovia) diaper

So taking these things into consideration, as well information we gathered about the reduced risk of diaper rash, we decided to give it a try. Now cloth diapering isn't hard, but it does take some getting used to and developing your own system. In addition, you have to figure out which diapers will work for you. We are fortunate to have a store dedicated to cloth diapering very close to where we live called Comfy Bummy and they were a WEALTH of information. They also have a blog with even more information. My fellow new mama, Natalie, and I spent several hours over a few different trips learning about all the brands, types, etc. Their suggestion is to purchase a few different brands and types (inserts vs. all in ones) and then decide what works best for you. 

Initially, I purchased a Grovia cover and 2 inserts, a Thirsty cover and a Flip cover with one insert. In addition, I purchased 12 Chinese prefolds. For the first 3 weeks of Owen's life, we did use Pampers Swaddlers because they just fit better. They were also easier to keep off of his belly button before it fell off and easier to care for his circumcision. 

After starting to use the cloth diapers, I wasn't sure I liked them because of how bulky they are. In fact some of his 3 month clothes didn't fit any more because of the added bulk. We kept with it though and ran into another snag - he did get a diaper rash and a BAD one. So one Saturday night, Brett had to go to Target at 9:45 to buy disposables so that we could smear his butt with Butt Paste (you can't use most diaper rash creams with cloths because they affect the absorbency). So after soaking his butt and treating the rash we went back to the cloths, but I still wasn't sure how I felt about them. If he was going to get diaper rash again and we were still going to have to buy disposables, was this really worth it? Well, he has yet to get a rash again and we are now in full swing of using cloth diapers.

I ultimately purchased 2 more Flip covers which each come with one insert and 6 more prefolds. I now have a total of 5 covers, 2 Grovia inserts, 3 Flip inserts, and 17 prefolds (Tucker actually ate one of the diapers!). Owen can mess a diaper with the best of them so we go through a lot of diapers. I also change him quite frequently because I don't feel wasteful since I'm not throwing out the diapers. I do laundry now every 3 days (sometimes every 2 if he has been super messy and gone on too many of the covers). I settled on Ecos brand laundry detergent which I was able to find at a local grocery store for a reasonable price. When I wash the diapers, I do a cold rinse, a hot regular cycle, and then an additional warm rinse. After washing, I throw the diapers in the dryer for about 10-15 minutes to fluff them then line dry outside. I always line dry the covers and the Kissa's Antibacterial liner. Oh, the liner goes inside a small step stainless steel garbage can that I purchased at Wal-Mart. I found out by mistake, that the sun is the BEST way to bleach a diaper white again. You can't believe the yellow stains that have virtually disappeared just by being outside.

Cloth diapers aren't for everyone. Since Owen drinks solely breast milk, his diapers are pretty easy to get clean. I'm a little over the top and I do rinse out ever diaper before it does in the bag. Every once in a while I sprinkle a little baking soda in the bag. All in all, it's not hard and after consistently using cloth diapers for a over about a month and a half, I love them!
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