Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Recap

If you remember my post a little while back, you'd know that Brad grew a pumpkin for our sweet little Camden! He was excited last night to watch us carve pumpkins.


Brad got a HUGE pumpkin and along with that (and 4 total pumpkins) I got tons of seeds!! YUM! I am baking them later today.


Camden's pumpkin I freehanded a monster drawing from a carving kit (since his pumpkin was too small to put the actual one on there). It's our little monster! ;)


And as you can see below, I did Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas.


We did have a fourth pumpkin, but I decided to bake and puree it instead of carving. I only have one can of pumpkin puree left for baking so I really needed it!

I'll update the post later and put some pictures up of Cato in his costume and Camden in his "My First Halloween" onesie.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photo Editing

Now I'm no expert on photo editing (or taking pictures either), but with most of my food blog photos I have to edit them to look more enticing. Also, with pictures of Camden I want to frame, they've got to be edited usually too. Taking pictures of a squirmy baby doesn't always produces the best picture right away.

I've read several of my favorite food bloggers suggestions and tips (always shoot in natural lighting if possible, crop when necessary, adjust the black and white, etc). From those tips I have discovered that picture editing does not make the picture what it is. You've got to shoot a decent photo, which is in the eye of the beholder of course. Editing is for enhancing the color and cropping mainly.

Take the pictures below for example. I'll leave them linked so you can click to enlarge them.

Before Editing

After editing

My first photography class in middle school taught me one thing: to get the proper exposure in your pictures, make sure you can see the whitest white and blackest black in the picture. That was the best advice I could have ever gotten!

For the picture above, I increased the brightness, shadows, contrast and highlights a tad bit. Then I messed with the black and whites to make them "pop out" more. If the color is off, you can always mess with color, tone, etc too, but I didn't edit that here. It took me all of 20 seconds to edit this photo .. with a FREE program on my computer. I know a lot of people use $300+ Photoshop, which is great if you can afford it. If not, use what you have. On my computer I have Windows Live Photo Gallery. From there you have basic editing and can even make black and white pictures.

So use what you have and mess around. I just figured out in the past few days how to enhance the black and white in the pictures so you'll never know until you try something out.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weight Check: 17 weeks


Our sweet little angel is a big boy! He is now 17 weeks and weighs 14 pounds, 6 ounces!! His head size and weight are about 25th percentile. HIs length is 25.5 inches, which at his age is 75th percentile. So basically he takes after his daddy, tall and skinny. ;)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Product Review: Milk Freezer Bags

Breast milk freezer bags are a necessity for a nursing mother. Even if you are a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) like I am (long story, the job didn't work out), you still need to pump, even if just for comfort reasons. There is no need to pour out perfectly good milk so why not freeze it?! If your freezer becomes overly stuffed like ours is at the moment, you can always donate it to the Indiana Mother's Milk Bank, IMMB.

When I first started pumping, I used the Medela bags simply because I had a Medela pump and you can pump right into the bag; no need to clean bottles every time. Well, then I learned that you usually want to combine the two sides of milk into one bag or bottle anyways so you're going to need to do dishes. I had some Lansinoh bags as a sample pack and started filling those too. What a difference a bag makes!


So on the left are the Medela bags, and the right are the Lansinoh bags. Immediately I noticed the bag size difference. The Lansinoh's are much longer and have a higher storage capacity of 6 ounces (versus only 5 ounces with the Medela).

Pricing comparison? There is no comparing ... Lansinoh is LESS THAN HALF the price of Medela for the exact same amount of bags, 50-count. Medela is expensive, running about $20-23 per 50-count box. Lansinoh is only $10 for a 50-count box.


When comparing the ease of writing on the bags/labeling there is a big difference too. Labeling is labeling, I know, but per state regulations (if you're using daycare) there are four things you need on each bag: Name, Date, Time and Amount. Although not a large space, there is space for each of these four items on the Lansinoh bags. The Medela bags do have a large writing space but it's totally blank; so I guess that could be a possible advantage.

Also you will notice that the Lansinoh bag has a seal at the end of it. You just rip that off (so you know the bag's never been used and is clean) and fill it up. 

The seal is very very important when freezing milk. If the milk gets freezer burn (hey, it's happened to the best of us) then you've got to throw it all out. Also, if there's a leak it can make the milk go bad quicker. Note: If it smells funky, don't use it. The Medela bags have been known to leak (and I've experienced this as well as freezer burn). The Lansinoh bags have a double-zip seal so that is less likely with those bags.

With either bag (or any other brand), DO NOT overfill them or you will almost guarantee yourself a milk explosion in the freezer.


Both bags are able to stand in an upright position, although Medela has the advantage here since they are more sturdy. Why you would need your bag to stand up .. I can't tell you since I have no idea. It is nice, though, when first starting out and being able to pour it into the bag on the counter top.


So when the bags are laying flat, which is the best way to freeze and safe space, the Lansinoh has the (obvious) advantage. It lays much flatter, hence the longer/larger bag design. They do tend to stick to one another easier, though they aren't hard to break apart once frozen.

And finally pouring is extremely important! You've got to be able to pour the milk from the bag into the bottle when you need it. Medela has a hole cut out of the tops of their bags, but the milk bypasses it and I often get half of it on the counter tops. The plastic is very thick on their bags so it makes it hard to pour any other way.

The Lansinoh bags, however, don't have a pour spout but the design shape of the bag allows for you to pour it out of the sides very easily with minimal spilling.

Overall:

The Lansinoh has the best advantage when it comes to: price, storage capacity, labeling, sealing, space-saving, and ease of pouring.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

First Holidays

Camden's first "big" holiday is coming up. Yeah, he was with us on the 4th of July but he was a mere 4 days old at that time. Labor Day came and went but it wasn't anything huge. Halloween is going to be awesome though. I am so excited that he will be old enough to at least interact with family during the upcoming holiday season. I can't wait to make wonderful memories with him this first year (wow that didn't sound cliche at all..).

Earlier in the summer my husband decided that this Halloween we would grow our own pumpkins. He got a great head start on the garden in which the huge leaves quickly overtook the area. We made the mistake of planting it in the absolute sunniest part of our yard so we got only one tiny pumpkin. I'm so proud of Brad for growing Cam's first pumpkin.


It was really supposed to be Brad's pumpkin but I'm donating it on his behalf to Camden. I'm sure he won't mind.

We did have two but the other was smashed somehow and shriveled up. Since Cam was the only one with a pumpkin, we decided (per tradition as well) that a visit to the local pumpkin patch was definitely in the works!

My mom bought Camden one giant pumpkin so we just needed one more since there are three of us. We ended up getting a medium-sized one and a pie pumpkin as well. I'm going to perfect that homemade pumpkin pie recipe I failed at so many years ago if it kills me.


First we visited the store where they had lots of delicious goodies. Camden and Brad thought this cup was funny looking so we had to get a picture with it of course.


Camden went on his first hay ride and loved it! He didn't fuss or squirm the whole time and on the way back from the pumpkin patch he actually fell asleep.


We found a great pumpkin and got some pictures. The caramel apples were calling our name so we got one to split at home later. It was heavenly.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Finger Paint Recipe

I looked up several recipes from a few different websites for finger paint. I had an idea to send my nephew a card since he's still young and we wanted him to know we were thinking of him. The easiest recipe also got some of the best reviews on this site and so I went ahead with that one.


The recipe called for cornstarch and water, something I always have on hand. Cornstarch naturally thickens food when heated so I thought this would be a great recipe to try first.


You simply mix 1/3 cup cornstarch with 1 cup water and heat to boiling. Add the food coloring after it has cooled a bit.

I actually used a lot of food coloring and it still wasn't as dark of a color I would have liked. The mixture will thicken as it heats, too. The mixture got to this point (above) even before boiling so I'd probably use half as much cornstarch and reduce the heat a little for the next attempt.


I added some red food coloring (Camden's favorite color) and smeared it all over his hands. :) He wasn't freaked out and luckily didn't try to eat it. It was really hard, however, to keep his figers spread out since he wanted to keep his fists closed. We did a test print on the white paper (mostly for us), then tried the card we sent to his cousin Elijah.


The finger paint ended up thickening up way more than was necessary and after about 30 minutes it was totally gelatinous and unusable. I would definitely try another recipe for next time. I'm so hesitant to use kool-aid because it stains your fingers so easily.


He was tired since he had just had a play date and it was bed time so he looks less than enthused. He did really well and didn't resist though. I am thinking once he starts eating food we'll try again since none of the recipes I found used anything toxic.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My two front teeth..

I thought Camden was teething a while back, but now I know this is the real deal. I can finally see two little white lines in the middle of his gums on the bottom. So basically every day I take tons of pictures in order to track the progress of how his gums look and if the teeth have popped through yet.


Yeah, Camden doesn't so much like it but the pictures are so funny of his expressions.

Mom, get your fingers out of my mouth!

I'll of course update when I can but starting a new full-time job along with another PRN job and a baby = no extra time for me. We will probably go to the pumpkin patch either this weekend or next depending on the weather so I'll have lots of pictures from his first Pumpkin Patch! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Job

I've been very actively applying and interviewing for any and all kinds of jobs since last summer (2010)when I left my going-nowhere job as a telephonic health coach. Just recently have I actually had interviews that went really well and I received a job offer from one particular company. I'm very proud to announce that I'll be employed full-time starting October 24th.

If you're doing your math correctly, you know that is just one week away. It's short notice, yes, but I am eager to start although saddened that I don't get to see my sweet baby all day, every day. I really wish one of my parents or someone close to me was retired and/or wanted to watch him for us. Day care isn't something either of us are looking forward to, but it should be good for him to interact with other babies. He's so interested in them right now whenever we go to the support group.

I don't know my orientation schedule, normal working hours or even when I'm actually going to start since my first day is at the corporate office. When I know more, I will explain, but until then I'm enjoying what little time I have left with my sweet baby.

Also, I still work PRN at my hospital job and I work the last two Sundays in October so I'll be working 6 days a week for a little while. Two days a month doesn't seem like a lot until you get a 5-day-a-week job and then it feels like you never get a weekend off.

My biggest concern with going back to work is that we'll have to revert to formula, which has been my fear all along. Well, I wouldn't call it a fear so much as a disappointment (if it were to happen). I got some great advice at group today from the lactation consultant on how to pump and keep my supply ample. Plus I have a great friend that exclusively pumped for most of her daughter's first year so I know she is a fantastic resource too!

I am so very excited for my new position and can't wait to get back into the working world (ah hem .. and have Christmas money). This will be such a hard transition, though, not being able to see my sweet baby every day like I do now. In the end it will be good for both of us to have some "social" time I guess. We'll see..

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weigh-in: Week 15


I think our little one is really starting teething. He is producing 10x the drool as last week and he is a lot more fussy, which isn't saying too much since he was never really fussy in the first place (thank goodness). His bottom gums in the front seem a lot harder and I feel something little poking, but I can't see long enough to look really well. He was crying a few days ago so I snapped a photo and it is definitely white in the middle (and nowhere else). I can't believe this is happening so soon!

His weight today at group was 13lbs 13.8oz!! He's getting so big, not to mention the fact that he's starting to wear a lot of 6-month size clothes. I'm going to miss this time with him when I go back to work. I'll update on that later. Right now, nap time... I gotta take advantage.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Getting personal: Breastfeeding

Since this is a blog for close friends and family, I won't hold back. (fair warning)

Breastfeeding. It has its ups and downs, good times and bad. Giving birth, becoming a mother, seeing my child for the first time were all life-changing events. Breastfeeding was part of that. Before having a child and even during pregnancy I never thought I'd ever want to breastfeed. I'll be honest when I say that I thought it was gross and not at all something I wanted any part of. My husband, who is incredibly supportive of any decision I make, convinced me to at least give it a good try.

I had a lot of misconceptions in my mind about it. I thought it would hurt, my nipples would be sore, or he would bite a lot. Babies are actually very smart when it comes to feeding. They know how to get the milk and are damn good at it (most babies anyways). None of those things are true at all unless you're not nursing correctly, the latch is not right, etc. They are all issues that you might not deal with and if you do, there are solutions.

I tried nursing the first few days and I cried, as all new mothers do (damn hormones), and we had several visits from the lactation consultant (LC). Deb, who was my LC the entire hospital stay, was the most wonderful nurse I'd met. Every single time she was in the room, she gave me so much feedback that the feeding would always go so well. As the days went on, feedings got much harder to control. I was new to motherhood and nursing was pretty foreign. HOWEVER.. the more I tried to nurse, the more I wanted to succeed.

Long story short, I now love nursing. If you had asked me if I would/could ever love nursing back in the "early days" I would have laughed (or cried, depending on what day it was). I gave my son a bottle a few nights ago and it just was not the same. I actually want to nurse!

My initial goal was to just try nursing. Then it was to make it to at least 2 weeks nursing. Once he started losing an ounce a day and having to supplement, it was incredibly hard to keep going. I pushed through and my milk supply has been almost perfect these past 3 months. My next goal was to make it to 3 months nursing exclusively. CHECK! Now my goal is to make it to 6 months. I already know we'll have to start spoon feeding rice cereal and "jar" food, but I still don't want my milk supply to dwindle and have to revert to formula.

Side note: If you've ever made formula and pumped milk, the formula smells awful and looks disgusting in comparison. I wouldn't want to give my kid formula that smells like a garbage dump and is brown in color. DISGUSTING!

Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that I think breastfeeding is an amazing gift of ours and some women can't do it so I feel incredibly blessed to have the ability to do so. I can't believe that at one time in my life I actually would have been disgusted at a woman breastfeeding, public or otherwise. I'm not saying I'm gonna whip it out at the dinner table or anything (trust me, I'm still very modest), but I think it's a wonderful bonding experience that bottle-fed babies and moms just don't get to share.

A friend once told me that I'd actually miss feedings when he doesn't nurse anymore and I can now see why that's so true. For now I am enjoying the days I get to spend watching my cute little man do new things and explore new toys. And as much as I'd never thought I would hear these words come out of my mouth, I do actually miss the middle-of-the-night feedings because it was dark, quiet, just the two of us bonding. Loved it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bad Doggie!!

When my dad and his wife came to visit the other day, I let our dog Cato outside to sun bathe. It was a nice day and he would much rather be outside any day of the week (unless it's raining). Well, apparently we left him outside a little too long and he needed a cool spot. So instead of laying in any of the shaded areas on the side of our house or underneath any of our FOUR trees, he decides to do this:


Yup. Our perfect little pooch dug himself a nice, muddy hole in the ground to lay in. You can pretty much guess what happened next:

"mom, save me"

What a little stinker! He has never done anything like this before and he has never dug anything in his life! Maybe he could help dig the rest of those weeds up for us to plant grass (that's the plan anyways). Mommy's little gardener! Who knew.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Weigh-in: Week 14


13lbs 6.6oz today at group! :)

I tend to always have at least one question, whether important or minor, to ask the lactation consultant at group each week. Some of them I'll start to share. This week I wanted to know if it was normal to be losing a lot of my hair post-pregnancy. I can pull clumps out and it just doesn't stop; it's everywhere!! Apparently that's completely normal to shed a lot more after giving birth. Good to know!

Gma & Gpa visit!

Grandma Vadyes and Grandpa Ivan came over to visit this past Sunday! Camden was having a great time smiling at them (being the little ham that he is) and playing. He woke up from his nap just in time to say hi before eating. Then he was awake the rest of the evening!


It was also such a nice day we sat on the front porch for a while. Brad and I were out there while he was sleeping. We really needed the fresh air (or at least I did)!

Also, grandma and grandpa hinted that they have a stroller and a crib .. hmm .. I wonder if they're trying to tell us something. Hehe. ;)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weigh-in

I went to the Fishers BFing (breastfeeding) support group yesterdat to get a weight on Cam. He was such a good baby, only spitting up a tiny bit one time!! So proud! I haven't been to this group in a while so it was nice to see everyone again.

He weighed in at 13lbs 5.6oz. He was 13lbs 5 oz a week ago and 13lbs 4.5oz on Monday.


I know that's not a huge jump from last time (and actually less than from Tuesday at the doc's office), but the lactation consultant told me not to worry since he just went through a growth spurt and BF babies usually plateau instead of continuously gaining. That's good to hear because I was getting very frustrated with our pediatrician. I love him and he is so great with our son, but I just wanted to figure out what was wrong.

You see, the last time Cam lost weight at group I was told the same thing: it's a difference in scales and he might be plateauing. Actually it ended up I was put on the wrong medication per the OB/GYN "by mistake" and he actually was losing weight because my milk supply was dwindling.

Also, I don't really trust the scales all that much anyways. I went to re-weigh Cam after the feeding to see what he took in and he was 11lbs. Then we re-weighed and he was 9lbs. I think their scales are so inaccurate (they are electronic), but who knows. I was told to compare the same scale measurements to each other week to week.

So now I naturally freak out if he's not gaining any weight. And now I'm definitely going to be comparing Fridays weights and Mondays weights separately. If I looked at it like that, he has actually gained well. :) I'm happy. He seems to be happy. Win. Win.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More "firsts"

This past week has been pretty fun watching Camden go though a lot more first experiences.

He had his first real bath, submerged (and loved it):


Then we bought him a Baby Einstein Exersaucer toy:


Pictures can be deceiving. He really actually hated it so he only sat in there for a few minutes. This is a more accurate rendition of what happened:


And finally he had his first rice cereal in the bottle. We aren't spoon feeding him yet. We are going to try that around Halloween. This is just to help with reflux. Poor kid is SO miserable with it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First stroller ride!

The other day we decided Brad coerced me into walking Camden in the stroller. It's that time of year when it's freezing in the morning but by 5pm it's quite pleasant (nevermind the mosquitos). I was being lazy, but Brad insisted we walk. I'm so glad he did because we got to let Camden ride in his stroller the way it was always meant to be ridden in!

Yes, mom made him wear the silly hat so his little face or head didn't get burnt. 

I'm not a huge fan of the stroller/travel system though. Maybe I'll do a product review post later and get Brad's input as well.


I'm not sure if he liked it but I know he enjoyed at least being able to see more things outside. He absolutely loves to sit on the front porch. Too bad it'll be snowing by the time he can actually sit up on his own. Eh oh well at least he'll learn to love snow. ;) Haha.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day care woes

I went to day care. My husband (just found out), he went to day care as well. I am not against day care, but I have worries. I don't want to miss the milestones. I want him to learn to say "mama" before he says the caregivers names. I know that nobody will ever watch him, play with him or love him like I do. It's so hard to have to return to work (whenever I do).

Lately I've been touring day care centers but none of them have been "good enough" for our sweet Camden. Yes, there is one place I really like more than the others, but it's still never going to be the same as being home with mommy. I'm almost in tears trying to write this...

We need income from mommy while daddy continues his studies and certifications. I also love being around adults and having some time away from all things baby, although when I do I just worry about him constantly. Maybe getting a full-time job will help me to balance everything. I'm sure I'll still see him on weekends and week nights. I'll still get to breastfeed him once in a while (that is, hoping that he transitions breast to bottle okay). This is going to be so hard.

I never ever wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), but here lately it's sounding more and more appealing. I love my son. I'm not saying people that work or send their kids to day care don't, but I just don't want to be away from him. Ever. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rolling - belly to back

Yesterday (October 2, 2011) was a HUGE milestone for Camden. He rolled over from his belly to his back. I couldn't believe it the first time he did it and I thought maybe it was an accident. Nope! I got the camera and he did it THREE MORE TIMES! After that he was pretty wore out because it was right before bed time and we had already been playing with him for at least an hour.

Check out the video for yourself! :) It makes me smile every single time!

video