Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Things I can't Live Without: Baby Edition

I am not paid to endorse any of this items, I just REALLY love them and like to spread the word on good products, etc.

When it comes to holding the title "Mommy", I'm still pretty new to this entire new role. But in the last couple of weeks, I have definitely found myself in a lot of appreciation for the following:

Mamaroo - If we are honest, Ben and I originally bought the Mamaroo because it looked like a cool baby gadget to have in the house. HOWEVER, it has become the best investment! Here are some reasons why I love it:
1) Madden lays down in it. Unlike swings which can make a baby's head flop over, the Mamaroo is like a baby hammock.
2) It has different settings for swaying.
3) The little mobile is CLASSICAL PAINTINGS. (This maybe one of my favorite aspects ever!)
4) It has an iPod hook-up.
5) Madden loves it.
6) Customer service is AWESOME! (I follow them on twitter and they ALWAYS respond to me!)

Hygiea Breast Pump - After a lot of research on breast pumps, I went with the Hygiea because it had great reviews (both of ease of use and customer service). The reviews were correct - it is easy to use, and they do have great service. They are also on twitter and they RESPOND to questions/comments!

Social Media Networks - Yes, I can't live without Facebook and Twitter as a new mommy. Why? Because both have given me a lot of wonderful information on breastfeeding, infant growth spurts, etc. (yes, I do listen to my doctor, but I also love to do research on my own to be well-informed). In addition, I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are new moms like me and I love how we learn together!

HoMedics Sound Spa - My mother-in-law gave Madden this sound spa for Christmas and it is MY favorite gift! He finally goes to bed without screaming, crying or me holding him for hours. I love that it offers a combination of "white noise" and a little floating image projected on the ceiling for him to watch. He sleeps and I enjoy some time with Ben.

Baby Trend Stroller Snap 'N Go - We originally bought a different stroller that said it was car seat compatible for all car seats...when we got it, we discovered our carseat DEFINITELY didn't fit. So, some quick research by my mother-in-law (she is so handy!), tracked down this awesome stroller. It is easy to assemble, it holds car seats, it climbs over rocky terrains, it goes shopping, to church, to restaurants, and it fits in the back of the car - it is basically awesome.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011 Report

We spent our first Christmas with Madden enjoying the day. Simply enjoying every single moment.

We woke up late - a luxury we didn't take for granted...this is probably the LAST Christmas we will get to sleep in!

I watched Ben grin like a fool showing Madden the half-eaten cookies left by Santa. 

Madden fell asleep after the 1st toy was opened.

We munched on cinnamon rolls and sausage (breakfast) meatballs the entire day.

We cleaned up puke from overly-excited dogs - a result of their Christmas treats.

We watched basketball.

Ben and I exchanged gifts...this year we tied on who gave who the best gifts. Because you know this is an ANNUAL Competition.

Honestly, I've always heard Christmas is more fun when you become a parent, and IT IS SO TRUE!

His Christmas Outfit.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What's in Your Bag: Diaper Edition

 One of my favorite blogs is written by Erin a mommy to 3 kiddos. I wish she didn't live so far away so we could do playdates and coffee dates!!!

I wish I could say that I am a habitual diaper bag packer, but I can't in good conscience. When I had one baby, I was religious about it. I had everything under the sun packed, ready for all seasons. Then the second one came along and I got less careful about what was in there and threw a little of anything I could find. As the boys got a bit older, and I added a third baby to the pack, it would be amazing if I even left the house with a diaper bag at all.

So here is my slightly different tale of diaper bag contents.

When I'm going on a trip or I'll be away for a long period of time, I use my trusty Petunia Pickle Bottom bag. If you don't have one, I highly reccomend them as they can pack about as much as Mary Poppins suitcase...and a little more!

Most of the time, I carry around what I call a "mommy wristlet". It's got my wallet, and my keys and my phone all compartmentalized because I can't tell you how many times I lose those when I'm with the kids. Then in the small pocket, I carry some tissues and a couple of matchbox cars.

Simple I know, but I find that it does the trick when I'm on the run. I also always try and throw on a dangly necklace when, in case of a toddler meltdown, it can be used as a rattle toy. My kids play with my necklaces for hours.

Mostly, I use my minivan pockets as my diaper bag. In there you will find diapers of all sizes, wipes, granola bars, cookies, an extra hairthing (in case of a fashion emergency) and a thing of bubbles.

For me, keeping kids fed and entertained is my key to survival. If I can do that, I have succeeded. So there you have it. Not your typical diaper bag content, but effective none-the less. 


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Twitter, Skip Bayless and WINNING

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a tweet from Skip Bayless, a sports analyst and Tim Tebow fan on the ESPN show First Take that Ben and I both watch each morning. His tweet said: "Today's contest for prizes based on the answers for #cheerupskip after the Tebow loss."

So, I quickly tweeted: " #cheerupskip when Tebow lost, my husband went to the other men in his life #benandjerry." Then, like a maniac, sat in front of the TV to see if my tweet was read on the show.

I am one of those annoying people that DESPERATELY WANTS TO WIN GIVEAWAYS. Since we've been married, I've won 3 giveaways...ALL from people I know. I've quit trying to win on the Pioneer Woman or any other famous blogger because when my chances are 1 out of 33,000, I figure I have better things to do than be severely disappointed.

About an hour after the First Take show came and went, I checked my twitter and saw that First Take had retweeted MY tweet with the word WINNER attached to it. I got really excited. Then, I realized that in the Twitter world COMPLETE STRANGERS were retweeting my tweet and I got EVEN more excited.

I started screaming. Then laughing maniacally. Then started to do my awkward I JUST WON dance.

My dogs stared. My baby stared. My husband stared. And me? I kept dancing.

Then, I called my dad. No answer.
Then, I called my brother (to reach my dad). No answer.
Then, I called my sister who was eating lunch and couldn't talk..but did congratulate me.
Then, I made Ben call his best friend.
Then, I posted on Facebook.

When my dad called, he shared my joy (though calmer and more dad-like) and asked if I had gotten a direct message with information on how to retrieve my prize.
Then, I hung up on my dad to check. I really need to get out more.

5 minutes later, I did receive a direct message.  I really was a winner! Which only brought more dancing, screaming and laughing.

And, what did I win? Just an I (heart) @RealSkipBayless shirt and backpack. The t-shirt looks like this:

Thursday, December 22, 2011


You all know that I love to craft and I love lists. Right before Madden was born, I had this grand idea to do a photo book of his first year. Since his birth, I've been snapping pictures left and right. But then, I got overwhelmed. HOW DO I ORGANIZE ALL THESE PHOTOS?

Thankfully, Jasmine Star saved the day. She posted this great blog post and it helped my creative mind get a little more organized. In one afternoon, I organized over 75% of Madden's pictures (still have some to go!)...but wowsers! I feel so much better.

Just in case you are curious, I will be using Shutterfly's photo book option to create his first year.  The Folks at Young House Love have a great calendar idea I am contemplating using. Since we have a lot of family for Madden to learn, I also think this is a GREAT idea: The Book of Names and Faces.

Has anyone else done this? How do you organize your pictures? Do  you have a fun way to display them?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What's In Your Bag: Diaper Edition

One of my favorite blogs, On To Baby, has started a new blog post series entitled: What's In Your Diaper Bag? I love this because I feel like it gives me a fresh perspective and gives me an idea of what to include in my own bag as Madden gets older.

That said, I'll share my diaper bag contents...sure, I'm still a newbie at the art of diaper bag packing, but I'm learning the essentials quickly!
From left-to-right:

Top Row:
  • Diaper Bag
  • Nursing Cover - one of the best gifts I've received!
Bottom Row:
  • burp cloth
  • extra outfit
  • bib
  • nursing pads
  • socks
  • petroleum jelly (this is a mystery to me why it is here)
  • Huggies Little Snugglers
  • Wipes (dont you LOVE the little dino cover?!) 
  • Extra Shirt for me...just in case!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blog Update

HELLO! Second blog post of the day. Wow. I am getting a ton of stuff done!

What do you think of the new blog post layout? Easy to read? Can you view it from your phone?

Comments, praises,  and criticism wanted.

And he is 7 weeks old!

I don't think a day goes by that Ben and I hold the baby up to the other and say, "CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW MUCH HE HAS GROWN?!?!"

While it is so exciting to see how Madden is changing, it is startling at how fast he is changing too.

He knows us. Not by voice alone any more, but by sight. That is beautiful.
He gives us the most beautiful, gummy smile around.
We are still changing a million diapers.
We are still dodging spit up.
 But we are thankful for both, because it means everything is working just fine.
He is officially wearing 0-3 months.
He needs an outfit change 3-4 times a day. On average. 
Speaking of clothes, he hates them. Our child is happiest in only his diaper.
I am afraid to cut his fingernails.
Ben reads to him every night.
He is like his mommy in that he loves to be held, cuddled and touched.
He listens so intently as Ben talks to him. It is adorable to watch this little one hang on every word from his daddy.
We dodged out of the church service for the 1st time because he started crying.
My cousin Leah gave him the only toy  that he loves!(at the moment)
He is noisy - he grunts, growls, coos and generally, has a lot to say!

We love being parents.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2 years: Married

In the midst of our baby/life changing induced haze, we realized our two year wedding anniversary was approaching. We wanted to do something fun. We discussed going to Chattanooga, TN or Greenville, SC. Or staying in town. We debated do we get a babysitter or not?

In the end, we vetoed it all. In light of our love for big celebrations, we went simple instead. We decided to go back to where this all started. We went back to the coffee shop where we had our first date. It was Ben's suggestion, his idea. And I loved it...he KNOWS I love all things sentimental.

2.5 years ago, we were nervous as we met each other for coffee. I rambled on and on about stupid things that he still remembers word-for-word even now. On Saturday, we pushed a stroller into that quaint coffee shop. Over coffee and cookies, we spent time reminiscing...very much in awe, that this time around, we were celebrating marriage. It was fun. 

Afterwards, we pressed "pause" on our evening as we changed diapers and fed Madden.

Then, we made our way to the restaurant where we celebrated our engagement with friends and family. We talked, and laughed, and in general, enjoyed opportunity to celebrate.

I've said it before, but I think it should be repeated. I love being married to Ben. He is such a hard working, focused and determined man. He has a big heart. He makes me laugh, hard and frequently. We may fight, but we always strive towards and arrive at reconciliation. We've faced difficulties, but we've learned to overcome them. I am looking forward to the next 60+ years with him.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Milo, Miko and Madden

Poor Miko (the white one). He still has no idea we have a baby. He thinks HE is the baby. Milo (the black one) really loves Madden. He gets upset when Madden cries.

Wait! He sees the baby! Probably only the 2nd time Miko has realized someone else is in the house. (This was also right before Milo rolled over...on Madden.)

Miko trying to be still. This is nearly impossible since he is constantly moving...hence the blurriness. Both dogs have tried to steal Madden's pacifier at some point...usually, this happens when Madden throws it.

Madden survives Milo and Miko!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our Christmas Decorating Story

The reality of our Christmas Decorating Day turned out far different than what we imagined.

We imagined a pristine day (which it was). We imagined Starbucks coffee (which we had). We imagined a cutie kiddo in his stroller as we strolled through the rows of Christmas trees at the local Christmas tree farm (we did stroll and he is a cute kid). We imagined hot chocolate while we decorated our tree (and the hot chocolate was yummy, check out the recipe!).

However, it is as this point our imaginations never imagined what happened next. It all started when Ben asked me if I thought the tree was leaning. I glanced up for a moment. "No, the tree is not leaning." I went back to what I was doing and he went back to what he was doing. 15 minutes later, "Bethany, the tree is definitely leaning." He examined it at the base and decided the bottom limbs needed a little trimming. He asked me to hold the tree. With a baby in one hand, and a tree in another, I held the tree. 20 minutes after he finished trimming, we sat the tree upright and stood back.

This did not fix the tree. I placed the baby in the mama-roo and proceeded to hold the tree upright for the next hour. By this time it is 1am in morning. I'm tired. Ben is tired. It finally looks like it is fixed. So I go to bed. About 30 minutes later, Ben comes to bed, "I took all the ornaments off the tree. It is still going to fall over."

After examining it, Ben determined that the tree is just crooked - naturally. No amount of trimming or adjusting would fix our tree. So, three days after we decorated the tree, undecorated it, tried trimming it and finally just stared at it hoping it would straighten up....we propped it up against the window, stuck some books under the tree stand and declared, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!".

Monday, December 5, 2011

We have a 5 week old

How did this happen? Where have these short weeks gone?

Madden is 5 weeks old. Let me repeat - 5 weeks old!

He is growing very plump which makes me a happy momma. He has managed to gain weight and since birth has only lost 1 ounce. He has so much personality. He is constantly smiling, or giving funny faces.

He has 1 freckle. His eyes are turning dark which I hope means he will have brown eyes to match his parents. He is not bothered by barking dogs, sounds of the TV or the vacuum cleaner. Madden loves to be held - which is fine by me because I love to hold him! He is working to lift his head by himself and seems just fine with tummy time. He hates, I repeat, HATES dirty diapers; so we are NEVER in doubt of his need of a clean diaper.

When Madden sleeps, it is like watching a mini-Ben. They sleep in the same positions. He sleeps at night in 3-4 hour increments. Which means you are likely to find me on facebook at 4am. We are adjusting to size 1 diapers and 0-3 months clothes. The newborn stage lasted a good 4.5 weeks. Madden loves bath-time something that still surprises me - I thought for sure he wouldn't like it. But I was wrong.

So far, we have braved the grocery store, 2 restaurants, a drive-in movie theater, Christmas Tree farm and church with him. I am still a fan of requiring Haz-Mat suits for visitors, but Ben vetoed that idea...which is why we are actually getting out of the house.

Madden has made our wonderful life even better.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Date Night: Post Baby

When the third Twilight Movie came out, I really wanted to watch it. Badly. But when the movie came out, I had a two week old baby.

So, Ben and I tried to arrange friends and family to come watch the little one so we could head to the movies. Sickness, holidays and more kept putting a rain-check for that plan.

Until Ben had a brilliant idea. Drive-In Movie Theater. So our first date night took place. We packed up the baby, grabbed some fast food, picked up our favorite movie candy and away we went! It was perfect. We could talk through the movie, take care of the baby AAAANNNDDD we got to watch the movie. Finally.

Throughout the movie, Ben would look at me and say, "Whose idea was this? Who suggested a drive-in movie theater?" 

I am looking forward to our next date night.