September 29, 2010

The 3 month Wiggle

One of the joys of Olivia's 3rd month has to be the wiggling. During this third month the cries have begun to subside in frequency only to be replaced by various joyful vocalizations and lots of wiggling. She still seems to express herself just as much as before but it is just that now she has found alternative means of doing so with vocalizations other than crying. To many parents these Ahhs, Oo's and the occasional loud squeal are welcomed with delight as they are with me but what I really like is our little girl's wiggle.

She doesn't just vocalize, she wiggles too and oh how cute she is when she does. Momma and I know just the thing to amp up all the vocalizations and a wiggling and that is our nightly routine of changing her into the pajamas where we have discovered that Olivia really likes belly rubs most importantly belly rubs with her super soft giraffe patterned blanket with a cute little giraffe head. After taking off her dirty clothes from the day and changing her into a clean diaper we drape this little blanket over her chest and begin to rub her belly with it. And thus begins her little wiggle dance that brings so much joy and delight to me. Then we put her into her pajamas, fit her with tiny little mittens, give her the Prilosec and Mommy then dims the lights to give the bedtime bottle gently rocking her to sleep afterwards.

While Mommy is busy putting the baby to bed I begin the process of making the formula and bottles for the next day thinking about how wonderful a little girl we have and what a cute little wiggle. I then start to think about how much I can't wait to see her the next day and enjoy her wiggle just a little bit more.

Mommy's Morning Out

Saturday was Mommy's Morning out which meant that I got to spend the majority of the morning with my daughter alone. So I thought I would introduce our daughter to one of my favorite things to do Shopping. Yeah I know we are an atypical family in that it's the Dad in this case that has the bad shopping habit. But at least I don't pay full price for things as was the case for this lovely Saturday morning.

So the little girl and I packed up the truck early Saturday Morning and headed out for Cary where I had planned for us to check out the Consignment Sale at the First United Methodist Church. I learned from my last Kids exchange attempt that it is very important to be at these things early for the best selection. We got there around 9:00 am, an hour after it opened so a little later than I had hoped. I even negelected to stop along the way to get gas for fear of delaying more and by the time we arrived the gas light had been on for about 15 miles. So with a sigh of relief having just made it there on fumes I decided the best way to approach the sale was to put Olivia in my Baby Bjorn air carrier and then use the stroller I had brought along as a shopping cart.

When we got inside I was surprised to see there were still quite a few nice things left but we were on a mission for 6 to 9 month winter clothes for Olivia so I passed on the eye candy and headed straight for the clothing rack. I rummaged through the rack with the decision that for the most part I was looking for long sleeve onesies and jean overalls - pieces that could be layered together to make complete outfits. Most of the items I picked up were in the $1 to $2 range but I did splurge a bit on a pretty Christmas dress for $7. In the end I had picked out 19 articles of clothing all of which I was very happy to find. About this time having been there for about an hour Olivia started to show the signs of fussiness so I knew it was time to start planning my exit strategy. When I was checking out I came across a nice surprise - $5 Enfamil Gentlease coupons that could be stacked with manufacturer checks! So, my $45 clothing total will be partially offset by the savings on formula. I didn't want to get too greedy so I only took 5 coupons to get us $25 off our next batch of formula. So the clothes will end up costing us about $20 - great little surprise for me and the little girl.

After the sale it was time for Olivia to have a diaper change and eat. Fortunately, the day before I had purchased a used Dex Products Grab and Go bottle warmer from a consignment store in my neighborhood and would be able to now try it out. The product will heat the bottle via a wrap around bag of liquid that crystalizes and heats when a metal disk in the bag called a starter disk is pressed to set off the chemical reaction. The interesting thing about the product is that when you get home you can boil the bag for about 15 mins and it will dissolve the crystals and the process can be repeated all over again the next time you need it. I was surprised to find that it actually did heat the bottle up pretty well, taking only about 8 mins to heat a 6 oz bottle. The last portable bottle warming purchase (Munchkin) was horrible and was returned by my wife as defective! It took 30 mins plus and still did not really heat the bottle enough for Olivia to take it. The Dex brand is a much better product but is only good for one heating while you are out and about and there is the chance that you can accidentally set-off the chemical reaction before you are ready as my wife learned the next day. So I might try and get another one in the future to have as backup or to heat up another bottle on a longer outings.

Before feeding Olivia I needed to change her diaper and I had to get creative as there were no changing stations inside the church. I decided the tool box on the back of the truck would have to do and Olivia didn't seem to mind but I was very fearful of her falling off as she has gotten quite wiggly lately. After the diaper change I decided that park benches in the Church playground across the street would make a great picnic area. So Olivia got to go to her very first park. I can't say she did much other than eat but it was a park none the less and I did tell her all the fun things she had to look forward to doing at playgrounds when she is a bit older.

After her meal, I decided it was time for mine but first we had to get gas or we were going nowhere. After filling up we headed for Rudino's off Six Forks for the Pizza buffet. Olivia behaved wonderfully and since having just recently eaten she was content to sit in the carseat while I dined, a rare experience for me since I usually have to hold her while Shannon and I eat anywhere. After my meal I used the gigantic mural of Venice, Itally as a learning opportunity and I talked to her about Italy - the food, the geographic location and why people were traveling around in gondolas instead of cars. I know that she doesn't understand all this but I have read in numerous books that talking to the baby and describing things around them help increase their overall IQ later in life.

Our morning was coming to an end and it was time to head home and meet-up with Mommy. When we got home Shannon had not yet returned from her Book Club so I decided to surprise her with all the clothes we had gotten. I laid them out over the bed for her to see when she got home. I think she was impressed and she even admitted that a few of the things I got for Olivia are actually super cute. So all in all I think the little girl and I had a good morning together and Mommy got a break.

Good times indeed.

September 28, 2010

Olivia's Life Verse

Olivia's baby dedication is coming up and we were asked to select a life verse for her. After some discussion and going back and forth we decided on:
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer
(Psalm 19:14 NIV)
Since choosing that I have been thinking alot about how in order to teach my daughter this I will need to model it for her. Wow...that's a tall order. I have always had trouble with my mouth and fact I really cannot remember a time when one or the other hasn't gotten me into trouble! I think I'm going to need alot of prayer!!

September 24, 2010

Can I tell you how much I love my girl?

How can you not love this face?

At night when Olivia gets her last bottle before bed I rock her for a good 20 minutes after she falls asleep. The infamous Dr. Sears says that 20 minutes is the magical time that ensures babies do not wake back up....sometimes it doesn't work but I'd say most of the time it does! those 20 minutes I often find myself praying. Last night my prayers were of thanks to God for protecting both Olivia and I during these past 3 months.

I never thought I'd ever say this in my lifetime but I am SO thankful for medication. Until experiencing PPD/PPA I really did not understand people who could not seem to control their emotions and thoughts. As a Christian I figured they just didn't know enough of the Word or they were weak. This experience has helped me to see that sometimes there really is a physiological reason behind someone's inability to get themselves together. I know that the irrational thoughts I had for weeks on end were not "me". Looking back I am just so grateful to God for making sure neither me nor my child were harmed during that time. My sense of hope is beginning to be restored and I am now able to start looking forward to the future and start letting time ease the memory of the past.

September 22, 2010

Olivia is 3 months old today!

My dear friend told me that her dad always said you just had to make it through the first 90 days with a newborn and then it would all start to get better and I think he may have been right!

If you read my husband's second blog post you know that we have had a rough time with our baby girl. It has been one problem after another but thank God, nothing life threatening or even permanent. I can honestly say though that things seem to be looking up. Her periods of contentment are getting longer each week, she is smiling, talking (aka making cute baby noises) and in general alot happier. She still has very fussy moments and screams fairly regularly but overall, it's getting MUCH better.

And, in correlation I also find myself feeling much better. For those not aware I am one of the 10-15% who have experienced post partum depression (PPD) after giving birth. Specifically I have PPD and post partum anxiety (PPA), both of which began shortly after Olivia's birth. Initially I just thought it was exhaustion and worry over Olivia's weight loss but as time went on and the tears, guilt, irrational thoughts and anxiety did not lessen I realized something more serious was going on. Fortunately OB/GYN's look specifically for this at the 6 week post partum appointment so I didn't even have the bring the issue up myself. I have been on medication since that time and between that and getting back on a schedule with returning to work, I am feeling much better.

It has been a really hard road though and I have learned (and continue to learn) lessons from my experience that I hope to share in future blogs. If sharing my experiences ever helped even one person it would be worth it and on top of that I have found that honesty keeps the devil from coming to your front door!

September 21, 2010

Oh what a night.....

The last 3 months have taught me that motherhood = sacrifice! I think if women knew exactly what having a baby meant the entire population would cease to exist. I LOVE my baby girl but I had no idea how much I would have to sacrifice when I got pregnant with her! I feel certain though that it will be worth it.

So, last night I once again gave up precious sleep for my sweet girl. She has been doing REALLY good with sleeping at night - thank God! But every now and then she'll have a weird night. This time she woke up around 4:50 and I had to go in and try the pacifier and then try picking her up and rocking her back to sleep. I put her back down and climbed into bed, ready to get back to my previously recorded program called SLEEP! But no, that was not in the plans as she woke up again about 10 minutes later. So, back into the nursery I go with more rocking. Finally around 6:20 she was asleep enough to be put back down. Weary of the walk back to the bedroom only to be re-woken, I grabbed some pillows and a cuddly (tiny) baby blanket and curled up on the floor next to the crib. I must have fallen asleep because I was awoken at 7:30 by my favorite thing in the world - the joyful sound of my sweet girl waking up in the morning - she's all giggles and happiness at that time of day.

September 20, 2010

I want to be an Mom

In case you were not aware Amazon has been running a 15% off bonus on their Subscribe and Save option for diapers and wipes the last couple of months making it 30% off instead of the usual 15% and of course since it's subscribe and save it also meant free 2 day shipping.

The 30 % off for me as a parent trying to save money has been great but what really made this an awesome deal was that Amazon has been putting 20% off coupons on Diapers and Wipes in the last 2 months of both Parents and Parenting magazines. When they added the ability to stack coupons on top of the Subscribe and Save discount, the savings for us were outstanding as compared to anywhere else, even the local warehouse clubs..

Another savings bonus is that Amazon also occasionally has coupons in their grocery section for $1 to $3 off the brand of diapers we use, Pampers and it too is stackable. The only draw back on the coupons use are that they are one time use only and also limited to the purchase of one item at that additional 20% off discount savings. So I have to buy multiple magazines or get a friend who has the magazines to give me the inserts to repeat the savings. And if I wanted to use the Amazon grocery coupon on the Pampers more than once, it requires me to open use a multiple accounts.
If this savings alert is not new to you and the fact that the 20% off coupons from the magazines were stackable with the Subscribe and Save Discount then maybe the fact that some of the coupons codes in the magazine are also stackable with each other might be news. If I have coupon codes starting with different first letter in the coupon code then chances are they can be stacked together. So for a savings example, on already discounted box of Pamper Size 1 188 count diapers at $40 with the additional savings could they can end up being $9 a box or $0.5 a diaper. The really cool part is that all the percent offs are caculated based off the $40 price. So I thought my $.05 a diaper average for Walgreen Brand Diapers was great but getting that good a price on name brand diapers makes me even more excited.

There are a lot of people online who are even trading the coupons with each other so that they can get codes starting with different letters. So if I have 2 W codes and I need an A code I just trade with someone who has an extra A code and needs a W code. If I have enough coupon codes and want to repeat the deal I just use another accounts we have for like maybe my wife's account.
Drum Roll Please and the point of this whole post ...............................................

That was great, but now has really surpassed themselves and have taken that bonus 30% off Subscribe and Save discount and combined it into new program that they call Amazon Mom and it is totally free. So in addition to the 30% off Subscribe and Save bonus I will also get 3 months of Amazon Prime (free 2 Day Express Shipping) as well as other exclusive benefits. Again, did I mention it was Free! Well, the caveat being that after 3 months the Amazon Prime benefits expire but of course they have given me a way to extend it by a month for every $25 in baby items I spend in a single order, with the ability of earning up to a year of free Amazon Prime.

The real kicker for me on all my baby items is that they have a wonderful 365 day return policy with free return shipping. This means that if I go crazy and order too much of one particular size diapers, which of course I have done, I can return the unopened box for free up to a year later.

Check it out for yourself