Feb 24, 2009

Ella's Resume

Why don't I just get it all out in one post! In addition to long walks in the woods, ice fishing, smiling and grabbing toys, Ella is also well versed in

Sucking her thumb. Yay she finally found it! I don't really care what troubles we have to go through to break her of the habit when she's older...SOOooo stinkin' cute!Flying. We call this "Flying baby" and it's a real hit as a party trick. No seriously, despite the horrified look on her face she actually reall seems to like this and keeps her body straightened out just like that for as long as you fly her around.
Reading. We really want her to be a reader when she grows up. We read to her during every awake time. She likes to listen to our voices, study the pages and now she likes to touch the pages too.

And perhaps her most favorite, Sleeping!

She's Got Some Guns!

I'm sorry. I know most of you don't find these things nearly as fascinating as I do....but it's our first child and each new development brings joy to my heart, smiles to my face and sends me running for the cameras to capture it all!

She just started batted at toys this past week but it seems her hand-eye coordination is exploding from there! Today she was laying under her happy hippo gym batting at her toys when all of a sudden she grabbed the toy, muckled on and started pulling. Before I knew it she had ripped the toy right off of the bar! And then she put it straight into her mouth. She would occasionally pull it away from her mouth and look at it and then zoom...right back in it went. She tasted all parts, the soft parts, the crinkly parts, the hard plastic parts. She went on and on until it was nap time. So fun to watch her do new things!

Feb 22, 2009

New Developments

The past few weeks Ella has begun to develop some hand eye coordination. She LOVES her "happy hippo gym". And when you dangle things close enough for her to reach, she bats at them and then wiggles her whole body with glee and shoots a huge wide open smile.
Every now and again she even manages to actually grab hold of the toys. When she does this, it seems like she has suprised herself and she gets kind of calm, stares at her hand and the object as if she's thinking, "Whoah! What'd I just do? This is cooool."

1st Ice Fishing Trip

We house-sat for J's parents this weekend and they live right on a lake. Saturday turned out to be GORGEOUS and a little ice fishing was in order! So I bundled up the babe and walked out to meet J (who'd been out there since the crack o' dawn as usual). True to form Miss Ella slept through the whole adventure but we had a good time! Jason caught 7 fish and our Golden, Hunter and J's parent's Golden, Ranger had a blast running themselves ragged!

Feb 19, 2009

I'm Pregnant Again...

...Um no, not for real (Wouldn't I flippidy do da right out if that were true!). I just LOOK like I'm pregnant again with my little one all wrapped in her sling and zipped up in my coat! We took advantage of the BEAUTIFUL weather outside and went for a nice long walk in the woods. There's a great little trail that starts right across the road from our house. She wasn't too thrilled to be stuffed into this thing (I think it'll be retired soon as she's growing like a weed) but she was so stinkin' adorable I had to do the mom thing and take a picture.Once we were all bundled and outside she fell asleep the second we started walking and slept the entire time. SOO cute!

Feb 16, 2009

You're not the Only Tortilla in Town!

We have these friends, Peter and Shannon, who are BOTH really good cooks. I'm always asking for their recipes and ever since Peter made homemade tortillas on a camping trip, I've been in awe...especially of homemade tortillas. I was always convinced you could only get them out of a bag at the grocery store and the fact that he made them from scratch blew my mind!

So we've been eating this delicious Mexican recipe the last few nights but last night we found ourselves with lots of filling left and only one tortilla in sight. In frugal desperation (no...can't...spend...money on gas to drive to store AND buy package of tortillas) and armed with the knowledge that it was somehow humanly possible to make them on your own, because the talented Peter can do it, we googled a recipe.

Ummmm, NOT HARD AT ALL! Move over Peter, I'm on your tortilla makin' heels! (Aw crum, did I just throw down a cooking related challenge to Peter!? What was I thinking!? :) Here's the recipe we used. I'm sure Peter's is much more intricate and highly difficult to make! ;)

~3 cups flour
~1 tsp. salt
~1 cup water
~3 TBS oil

Mix until forms dough. Separate into 8 to 12 balls of dough depending on how big you want your tortillas. Roll out balls of dough. Spray pan and cook over medium heat (aprox 2 min. on each side).

Feb 13, 2009

Rules of the Road

First, let me say that Jason and I went on our second date - post baby which is such a treat! We celebrated Valentine's day on Friday and had a wonderful time and a lovely dinner at Applebee's, one of my favorite restaurants.

Now, we try to avoid the big city (a.k.a. Bangor) during busy traffic times (a.k.a. 4-6pm or Friday nights/weekends). But for this special occasion we threw caution to the wind and ventured out at...hold onto your hats people...5pm on a Friday! The traffic was jammed up at pretty much every traffic light which leads me to this:

A Few Points Of Driver's Ed Review:

~When the light is green but traffic ahead of you is at a stand still, YOU DO NOT GO THROUGH THE LIGHT ANYWAY. You STOP AT THE STOP LINE. It is against the law to continue through and block the intersection.

~If you do proceed through the green light EVEN THOUGH THE TRAFFIC AHEAD OF YOU IS AT A STANDSTILL, you will also come to a standstill.

~HOWEVER, YOU WILL BE AT A STANDSTILL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION. This will not get you anywhere any quicker.

~This will also cause traffic going in the other direction to be blocked when the light turns green for them and then THEY WILL BE AT A STANDSTILL and the ensuing backup of traffic will be CHAOS and it will ALL be the fault of the drivers that proceed through green lights even when traffic is not moving!

~ AND it is very dangerous to be stopped smack dab in the middle of the intersection, ESPECIALLY FOR BUS DRIVERS (Yes, along with NUMEROUS other vehicles, we saw a bus driver with a bus full of kids pull this stunt!)

'Nough said. You get the point. Anyone else have this or any other rules of the road pet peeve? (Don't even get me started on 4-way stops and who has the right of way!)

Feb 11, 2009

Wednesday Adventures

Today we went up to Old Town to visit Renee and her little girl Claira. Claira is two months older than Ella and ridiculously adorable/happy/easygoing! Here's a great picture Renee got of both of them smiling.Then while we were in town I took the opportunity to visit two other families that had yet to see Ella. I dropped in at the Winslows and got to see their whole brood. Tirzah held Ella and Ella stayed content for the longest I've ever seen her with someone!

We also stopped in at the Palmeters and I was so impressed with how interested the boys were with Ella and how super gentle they were.

T'was a long day of visiting but Ella did great and didn't get anywhere near as fussy as I had thought she might. I think she's finally getting used to this going out stuff. But in the end I think our daughter is an introvert like J and I because you could tell she was glad to be home. It was so good to see people, even if just for a quick visit. All in all, a lovely day!

Feb 8, 2009

Two Months Old!

Just got back from Ella's 2 month check up. She weighs 11lb 11oz (I had guessed 12. Close!) and is 23 inches long. She continues to be in the 75th percentile and "perfect" was used again many times.

Although we are not having anywhere near all of the vaccines the (in my opinion over zealous) American Association of Pediatrics recommends, she did have her first two shots today, DTaP and Polio. I think I felt my heart literally break when they put those needles in her thighs! It's one thing if your babe is crying because she's hungry or gassy or cranky. You have no control over those things and those things will pass. You can meet those needs and help and comfort. But it was altogether different when I saw that bottom lip stick out, face turn red and tears to start to flow when I knew that we were inflicting the pain on her with the shots. Yes it's ultimately for her own good and sure you can offer comfort. There was just something really painful about it to me. I can't explain it. Of course she was a trooper, and only cried a tiny bit. She's been sound asleep ever since. I'm positive it was more traumatic for me. I'll try not to project too much onto her :).

So here's our little sweetie pie in her 2 month photo shoot. Love all of her many expressions! Enjoy.

Feb 6, 2009

Time for Some 2 Month Old Cuteness!

Okay, I'm feeling better. I've vented. I've prayed. It's time to move on from the Anesis mess. Here's a preview of the 2 month old cuteness! I decided each month for the first year I'll do a cute black and white photo shoot. Here's just a few from the digital. Haven't gotten the ones from the manual developed yet and those are always better! So there's more to come!

Another Fabulous Encounter With Anesis!

Just got off the phone with Anesis. I recounted the whole situation (see previous post) to him. I won't recount the whole conversation to you. It was long and drawn out. Here's the gist.

~He now claims that all the bills were sent and that he never told my husband that they had switched software and that could have accounted for not getting the bills.

~He acknowledges that he got the payment in full on Jan. 27th. plus $180 extra. I ask (crying at this point) why they didn't set up oil delivery then. He states that he told my husband, because our account had been overdue, that we now have to pay up front for any delivery. (He flat out DID NOT tell Jason that. He told Jason we had to pay our bill (which they never sent us!) before they could deliver oil. Which he did.)

~I ask, if we had $180 extra on our account why he didn't set up for that much to be delivered. He sates that it only would have been like 70 gallons of oil. I sob into the phone, "So what if it's only 70 gallons!? At least my baby wouldn't have frozen!"

~He then tells me that there is an agreement with the companies that any delivery has to fill the tank (didn't know that!) and we did not have enough credit on our account to fill the tank.

~He also has the cold heartedness to say, "They shouldn't have even delivered the 150 gallons that they did." (Can you believe that!?)

Oh, and by the way. If you ever have any trouble with Anesis, good luck with any kind of recourse. The guy told me that he is the ONLY one that you can talk to when you call and if I send a letter of complaint it will just go to him!

Arrgghh! It's so aweful to feel powerless! I'm still crying about the whole thing! That's the last thing he said to me so I just ended the conversation with, "We'll be switching companies!"

Feb 5, 2009

Would NOT Recommend Anesis!

When we moved to our new place, we switched to a company called Anesis for oil. They buy large quantities of oil from local companies and then, because they bought so much, they sell it to you at a cheaper price than the going rate. The local company actually delivers it. Anesis arranges it and you pay Anesis.

They ARE cheaper. But, the following story pretty much sums up our experience with Anesis and shows you why we don't recommend them.

When we signed up for Anesis we were never informed that you HAD to be on auto delivery. We got our tank filled up and received the bill. We were paying on the bill. We never received another bill and thought we would call again when we needed it refilled.

About Two and a Half Weeks Ago Jason calls Anesis:

Jason asked for an oil delivery and was informed that we were on auto delivery. Jason asked why we hadn't gotten any delivered then. They said we had unpaid bills. Jason said we had only received one. They said they had switched to new software and that could be the reason we didn't receive the others. Jason asked how much we owed. It was a really high amount since it had been accumulating with auto delivery and no bills being sent. Jason said he would send a check but that we needed oil. They said they could not deliver oil until we paid. Fine. Jason sent the check PLUS $180 extra so we'd have credit on our account!

Fast Forward to 5am this morning:
Ella, our two month old baby girl, wakes up crying (NOT normal at 5am). I wake up and pick her up. All exposed parts of her body are FREEZING COLD...ears, face, hands. I realize it's blasted cold in the house. I put an extra layer on Ella, along with hat and mittens and bring her in bed with me.

Jason gets up, walks down the hall. Yells, "We've got problems! It's 49 degrees in here!" He checks the oil tank. It still says 1/4 of a tank but obviously that's wrong. Sure 'nough, we ran out of oil! Sure 'nough, Anesis never arranged to have our oil delivered! They DID however cash our enourmous flippin' check over a week ago!

We called the Anesis emergency number. They sent a repair man out! NOT PAYING FOR THAT ON CALL VISIT I CAN TELL YOU THAT! Sure 'nough, repair man confirms it's not our furnace, and that we're out of oil.

Jason has to call in for the first part of the school day. He turns the faucets on so the pipes won't freeze and turns the oven on and opens it. I leave with Ella and go to my mom's house because they say it will be a while until the oil is delivered and it's -3 outside! Finally they deliver it (They said they were only allowed to deliver 150 gallons, still have no idea about that one). Jason goes to work. I get home around 1pm.

I CANNOT express to you how ANGRY I am! If it were just Jason and I, I know I would still be quite peeved. But something about that mama bear instinct in me has me wanting to claw someones face off for putting my sweet baby at risk and making her cold and making her cry!

We shall be switching companies. But not until I have a long talk with someone and submit a very long letter!

Feb 3, 2009

I've Seen the Cloth Diapering Light

(Insert Aretha Franklin background music
and picture me singing to a stack of disposable diapers)
At first I was afraid, I was petrified!
Kept thinkin' I could never live without you by my side.
Then I spent so many nights thinking how you did my wrong.
And I grew strong...and I learned how to get along!

I started out saying I would NEVER used cloth. I was afraid they would be messy, leaky, smelly, hard to use, hard to clean etc. etc. Then the money factor sold me on the IDEA of cloth diapers, but was not sold on the REALITY of cloth until I used them. Well, I've been using them since Friday and already I will NEVER go back to disposables! Why? Let me count the ways!

#1) They DO NOT leak! Not a single cute outfit has been touched by poo since we've started using them. (And literally every time we've had a disposable on Ella since friday, some poop has squirted out somewhere and stained some clothing)

#2) They are super soft and and absorbent!

#3) They really are stinkin' easy to use! (Jason thought it would take him a while to get good at it. Nope! Showed him once and he's a pro!)

#4) They don't smell, you don't have to use a wet pail, and you don't even have to rinse them if you're breastfeeding! I just chuck 'em in the diaper genie until wash time!

#5) It's not anywhere near as much laundry as I thought! (I started using them Friday and I'm just doing a load today, Tuesday!)

#6) They wash up really well and really easy! (Just took 'em out. Poo and pee free and no smell lingering!)

#7) SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cheap! And won't have to spend a DIME on diapers for the next kiddo! (It's estimated that you'll spend btween 2,000-3,000 on disposables from birth to potty training for one kiddo!)

#8) Yes, they are bulkier but I think it makes her butt look sooOOOooo cute, and it'll be extra padding for when she starts dawdling around and taking tumbles!

#9) I'm doing something good for the environment too! (It's estimated that you'll use 8,000 disposables from birth to potty training on one kiddo!)

#10) Using cloth, it's like I've been inducted into a great little exclusive hippy group! (There are websites and forums and message boards and any cloth diapering mommies you meet are SUPER friendly and helpful and will answer all you're questions and cheer you on at the same time!)

So, if I have you thinking about switching or using cloth for your next babe, good! I was hoping I might! I, being one of the hippy mommies now, would love to answer any and all of your questions (as best I can since I'm not an expert yet!). You can even practice on my baby and try them out before you buy! I've put together what I've found to work best and a little resource guide for you so you can get started!

There are ten thousand different kinds of diapers and wraps. DON'T let it overwhelm you. Any way you go is going to save you bundles of money and have all the benefits listed in my top ten above! I can assure I have picked the cheapest method and it's works great so I'll tell you what I'm doing.

I am using Indian cloth prefolds. (Here's the site with best price I've found)
~There are chinese prefolds as well (They say Chinese prefolds last longer, but Indian prefolds are softer and more absorbant and will easly last through two kiddos. I have them and they seem pretty rugged to me. I think they'd last much longer than that! The mommies I've talked to all prefer Indian prefolds. )
~I'm buying as she grows and will get:
36 infant size 7-15lb. ($54.00) and
24 premium size 15-30lb. ($48.00)
and prob 18 toddler (we'll see when we get there)

I am using prorap covers.
(Here's the site with the best price I've found)
~All of the mommies I've talked to and reviews I've read say they are the "workhorse" of wraps and they are the best wrap for the money. They happen to be the cheapest wrap and they are double gussetted around the legs which some wraps aren't.
~I'm buying as I go and will get:
6 small 9-14lb ($40.50)
and six of each size as she grows and needs them (they go up to XL 35-45lb)

If you have the money to spend up front HERE is BY FAR the best deal I've found. A package deal that gives you EVERYTHING you will need to cloth diaper your baby from birth to toddler for $285.00!!! (except you'll probably want to buy some newborn prorap covers. They have umbillical cord cut outs. Or just use disposables until the cord falls off) And it's from a maine made company!

Also, I'm using the Snappi Fastener.
A super neat invention to fasten cloth diapers so that you don't stick your baby with pins! I find it very easy to use. Gets diapers really snug and it's really easy to reposition if you need to!

Happy diapering all!

Feb 2, 2009

Out With The Old!

Okay, not completely. I still use the ring sling that I made before I was pregnant but I made a new baby carrier that I love! "Made" really misrepresents what I did. Anyone can do this!

Step One: Buy six yards of fabric (preferably with your 40% off coupon from JoAnn Fabrics from a site like this one).
Step Two: Cut it lengthwise so that it is 30inches wide.
Step Three: Go to this website to learn how to wrap it around you in a gazillion different ways to hold your babe!

And finally here are my thoughts on the pros and cons of the two different carriers I have made.

The ring sling: puts the weight only on one shoulder. I have found this to cause me shoulder, back and neck pain. Your baby can be cradled, chest to chest, or on your hip. It is easy to slip on and off and easy to take a sleeping babe in and out of.

The wrap: It distributes the weight across both shoulders, your back and your waist and is much more comfortable. It is better for your spine and supports the baby better so it's better for thier spine as well. It is extremely versatile and can be wrapped in many, many different ways. It's more time consuming to put on, a bit cumbersome to learn how to wrap and harder to get sleeping babies out of.