Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Myles Monthly: 5

As you may know, I didn't decide to start my blog until my son Myles was about 8 months old. And well... now he is 15 months old! So I am focusing on getting caught up with monthly updates and monthly favorites, so I can get, and hopefully stay, up to date. 

  December 15th- January 14th, 2013

Born: 7 lbs 6 oz and 19.5 inches
Five Months: No doctors appointments this month, but by estimation 
17 lbs and 26.5 inches
The many smiles of Myles :)


I'm going to do "outings" first this month because we had some big things happen that effected all the other categories, so it will make more sense this way. 
  •  First, we moved. I had been dreading moving for a while, but we couldn't put it off anymore. We were currently in the third house we rented together and were ready to buy a house. Ideally, we should have looked, bought, and moved before Myles was born, but I mean, do I do anything the easy way? After Myles was born we started looking at houses. And by we, I really mean Mark, and I just tagged along. I know buying a house is supposed to be fun and exciting, but it was just all too much for me to handle on top of caring for a newborn (especially one that didn't sleep). After lots and lots of looking, we found two that we actually liked, but they both had something that the lenders would not accept. At that point, we pretty much gave up and decided it wasn't the right time to buy. However, we also didn't want to keep throwing away our money on rent, so we moved into the duplex that Mark owns. It had just went vacant and Mark didn't want to rent it out anymore (too many hassles and he wanted to put it on the market). So we moved in with the intention of not staying long. We kept many things in boxes and sold a lot of furniture. 
  • We really didn't pack anything until the day we planned to move everything, so it was a very interesting day. Moving with a baby is quite a bit more complicated than moving sans. I packed a day bag for Myles and escaped to my parents for the day. I was beyond stressed and really didn't want to have to move and unpack and situate all in one day. It didn't help that we went from a fairly big house to the tinniest upstairs apartment. We had way too much stuff to fit comfortably in the new place and my claustrophobia was in full-force. That night my parents helped me set up the nursery as best as we could (i.e. put the crib together) so Myles had a place to 'sleep' and the rest of the week went a little something like.... me=running in a hamster wheel. Honestly, it didn't seem to affect Myles at all; his routine stayed the same and he didn't have any major break downs.. me, on the other hand, well I was a whole lot of a hot mess.
  • Myles also had his first Christmas this month. Since we had just moved, we didn't get to set up a tree or even decorate. We did go to our families to celebrate, but it just wasn't what I had always envisioned for his 1st Christmas, so I am going to be considering this year as Myles' first real Christmas (Santa, decorations, trees, traditions, and all)! He had no idea what was going on except that a lot of people were giving him tons of love, affection, and attention. My mother decided to dress up her grandson (seeing a theme... remember the Thanksgiving photo session) as a little elf.
  • Christmas Eve was spent at my dad's (I don't have any pictures) and then Christmas Day, Myles put on his Sundays' best (cutest little man tie) and headed to my parents. He was the center of attention, per usual, and he got some really fun gifts (Mickey and Nemo!). And daddy got a picture frame of "Myles and Daddy Firsts" that still makes me tear up now. 

Loving on his Nemo :)
  • Myles also went on his first vacation! This brought a lot of 'firsts' for Myles: first road trip, first time out of state, first time sleeping in a hotel, first time swimming, and so much more! We took an overnight trip to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells. It takes us about 2 1/2 hours to get there. I was not looking forward to this trip as Myles had a very short limit to his car seat rides; about 45 minutes. I tried to plan it out so that he would be ready for his first nap about 30 minutes into the ride. Of course, Myles laughed at my planning and did not sleep for the entire time in the car! Ever since we got his nap schedule down, he never stayed up longer than 2 hours, so this was very out of character. I was also hoping he would take a nap so that he would be rested for swimming right when we got there. It was very clear he knew something was going on and he didn't want to miss out on anything. He was wide-eyed and inquisitive the whole ride. I guess he was just super excited about our vacation!
  • I've been to Wisconsin Dells dozens of times since I was little, but have never stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge before. The indoor water park there is awesome! They have 4 different sections featuring slides, play areas for all ages, a wave pool, lazy river, baby pool, hot tubs... everything you could want in a water park and it's inside! It was crazy swimming inside, while looking outside to mounds of snow and ice! This was Myles' first time in a pool. It seemed to be a bit overwhelming for him but he definitely liked it. He couldn't do much but sit in the baby pool, but that was fine by him. He also did a lot of people watching, which he loves! He finally took a nap on grandpa poolside, while us big kids took to some rides :)
  • After a full day of swimming, I laid down for a bit while the rest of the fam went exploring. There was a cute story time theater, a little mascot action, and a pretty awesome arcade (from the pictures, at least...haha)

  • The only negative of the trip was the sleeping situation. All 7 of us slept in the same room; 3 different beds, but it was just one big room. I brought the Rock 'N Play Sleeper, but I never put him in it because he was waking up like every 30 minutes. I never fell asleep, not even for a minute. I just kept staring at the clock and trying to keep Myles quite so he wouldn't wake everyone else up. Add to that the snoring chorus of 4 men and I can say that without a doubt it was our worst night of 'sleep' ever. A beyond exhausted mommy and a cranky pants baby did not make for a very chill ride home either. He was fussy for about 1 1/2 hours until I finally got him to take about a 45-minute nap. After that ride home, I swore off road-trips for an indefinite amount of time! But we had fun at the water park and I can't wait to take him again in a couple weeks when we go home! (We are staying in town this year!)


We actually had a pretty good 5th month as far as health goes. No doctor visits or weird new habits (that I tend to freak out about). He did get his first stuffy nose though. It only took one night of being in the new place for him to wake up with a stuffy nose. The apartment is quite old and the air circulation was very poor. The heat wasn't working the greatest either. So at night we would have a heater and humidifier going. It didn't seem to really bother him. You could tell he was stuffed-up when he nursed and had a hard time breathing out of his nose, but other than that he really didn't act upset about it. It cleared up in about two weeks, but I still kept the humidifier going so that air wouldn't be too dry. 

His teething continued on in full-force. We had no teeth yet, but EVERYTHING was still going straight to the mouth. We got him the infamous Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether for Christmas. I was hoping for it to be the Holy Grail of teethers, but he really did not care for it at all. He did end up really taking a liking to it, but I think it was just too big for him to maneuver into his mouth at first. He was more about variety; he would pick something up, chew on it for a bit, get bored, then move on to the next item.

And to my delight, blow-outs came back in full-force this month! The size 3 diapers were just not holding it all in! They didn't go high enough up his back to keep it all contained. His poop was constantly spewing out of the diaper and up his back... yuk! I decided to move him up to the size 4 diapers even though he wasn't heavy enough yet. It helped tremendously! They went way higher up his back and held his blow-outs to a minimum.

Breastfeeding was still going well. The throwing up once a day (from months Three and Four) stopped and he was feeding a little bit longer at a time. I continued to offer a feeding about every hour. He would usually feed for about 4-5 minutes on one side, and then I would try to get him to do the same on the other side. Because he was still feeding so often (and not taking a bottle), we didn't go out much. Plus, it was winter and freezing and driving was dangerous and I had to clean the car off and the possibility of slipping on the ice and trying to keep Myles from getting sick and warming the car up and living in an upstairs apartment and COLD... can you tell I am not a fan of winter in the Midwest! Needless to say, we were home most days, so feeding often wasn't really much of an inconvenience to me. I probably would have gone out more, if I wasn't so uncomfortable with feeding him in public. It didn't so much bother me, but I always felt people starring or acting weird about it. So I pretty much avoided it altogether by just staying home.   

This month we tried really hard to get Myles to take a bottle again. I bought several bottles in an attempt to find one he would eat from. We tried the Tommee Tippee BottleTommee Tippee Closer to Nature First Sips Weaning Cup, The First Years Breastflow Bottle, Playtex Drop Ins Nurser, and NUK Orthodontic Latex Nipples. He didn't care for any of them; none of them worked any better than another either. He just was determined to not drink from a bottle ever again. And well... I guess I didn't have the patience or strength to make it happen. We tried all sorts of ways to get him to take it: me feeding him, Mark feeding him with me around and without me around, in a chair/swing, sitting up, laying down, facing out, hungry, not hungry, warm milk, cold milk, formula, and on and on. I tried everything I read that others said worked for them. I also tried all the suggestions that the LC gave me. I pumped fresh milk for him too (at first we were just using the rest of the milk I had stored in the freezer.) This is when I found out that I could no longer pump any milk. I would get a few drops here and there, but that was it. That made me think that Myles wasn't getting enough milk and maybe that was why he wasn't sleeping at all through the night. But during the day, he would only nurse for a couple minutes at a time, so I could only assume that he was getting enough. Still, that is why I started offering him the breast so often. I didn't want to start solids or cereal yet, but I NEEDED him to sleep better at night.... Speaking of the devil...


This month I reached my breaking point with the sleep exhaustion. All of my relationships were suffering because of my lack of sleep. I was an emotional wreck and very miserable. I couldn't even enjoy the holidays as I wished that I could have. I remember very well the night that I had a complete breakdown. It was the night after New Years and I had laid down after finally getting Myles to go to sleep. Of course, he did his usual 'nap' and woke up 30 minutes later. I picked him up and nursed him, and when I thought he was asleep, I laid him back down in his crib. I guess I had moved him too much and he woke back up the instant I set him down. This was becoming more and more the routine every night. It was getting harder and harder to keep him asleep after I laid him back down. The more aware he was becoming, the harder it was to get him to sleep. He had done this many times before, but I guess that night was just the breaking point for me. I started crying and ran into the bathroom to have a freak out moment. 

Here's the thing about me: I'm not one to ask for help. I don't mind asking for help with little things here and there like opening a jar or giving me a ride, but big things requiring commitment, I tend to shy away from asking. It has been my biggest lesson learned since becoming a mom. If I went back and did it all over again, I would ask for help a lot more. Point being, I never asked Mark for help with Myles' sleep. I just sucked it up and dredged my way through it. I stupidly waited until I was about 3 seconds away from admitting myself to let anyone help me. Even then, I didn't even ask, Mark just decided that something needed to be done.
Even before this, I started doing some research on nighttime nursing weaning. Honestly, there wasn't much help out there besides 'make nursing sessions shorter and shorter until they stop the feeding altogether' and 'introduce a different soothing technique.' The issue I faced wasn't the nighttime feedings, as much as it was the nursing to sleep. It became the only way he fell asleep and if I moved him afterwards, he would wake back up and I'd have to start the whole process again. I tried a sound machine: mother's heartbeat, ocean, rain; none of them made a difference. I even tried to introduce a little stuffed animal as a soother.  We were in way too deep for a fix that easy. After many hours of reading the same thing over and over again, I finally found a blog of a women who had been in my situation. Unfortunately, she didn't have a miracle solution for me :( but she did have a little suggestion that I thought would be worth a try.
Basically, what she said was to nurse as usual but right before they doze off, take the nipple out of their mouth. If they wake up, try shushing and rocking to get them back asleep first. If that doesn't work, start nursing again. Keep doing this until they fall and stay asleep off of your breast. You can also try shutting their mouth once they are off the nipple by pushing up on their chin. That way they aren't still rooting around. I didn't start this with 100% commitment, but I did try it before naps and for a couple of our many feedings each night, and I did see some progress. It definitely didn't fix all our problems instantly, but it honestly did help. After a while, sometimes he would get off the nipple himself before he fell asleep and the time he nursed shorten too. 

Along with that technique, we started some sleep training. And by we I really mean Mark. I couldn't stand the thought of hearing Myles cry, but I got to the point that I didn't know what else to do. We hooked up the baby monitor and Mark would take the first shift. It worked out because he usually stayed up later and I wanted to lay down right away. Our doctor had told us that at 5 months he should be able to sleep at least 4-6 hours at a time. We did 4 hours at first. If he woke up before the 4 hours was up Mark would let him be and see if he would go back to sleep on his own. We decided that we wouldn't let him cry for more than 10 minutes before going to get him. It was very sporadic at first, but over time, his sleep definitely improved. Some nights, he would wake once, cry for 3 minutes, and fall back asleep. Other nights, he would sleep all the way through the four hours. He still had nights when he would wake up within an hour and not stop crying until I nursed him, though. From night to night, I wasn't sure we were making any progress, but after a couple months of sticking to it, he started to sleep for longer periods more consistently and the wake ups lessened.
We also still continued to swaddle this month. I did have to purchase an upgraded model though because he was always getting out of the ones we had and throwing a fit with his arms and legs. When I found out about the Miracle Blanket, I bought it right away. This thing is no joke; if you have a Houdini like me, it keeps them all wrapped up no doubts! We did start weaning the swaddling this month though. I stopped swaddling at naps and at night time we would let one arm be out, switching it every night. We did this for about three weeks until we switched to the Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit (more on that in month seven!)


Myles found his feet: I had been trying to show Myles his feet for a long time. I think it's just so cute when babies play with their feet, and it's even better when they get a little taste of the toes. Every morning I would get Myles undressed from his jammies, change his diaper, and then let him play with his feet. It kept him entertained for 10ish minutes usually. It wasn't long after his hands found his feet that they ended up in his mouth. Best baby skill of all time :)

Rolling over: This month Myles became a rolling professional. He got really good at going from his back to his tummy by kicking his legs up and pushing them down while he twisted his torso. Sometimes he would roll all the way across the living room floor. 

Assisted sitting: Myles started doing a little assisted sitting. He would sit with the boppy pillow behind him or leaning forward with his hands on the floor holding him up. He wasn't at all stable though and would fall back within seconds. We still practiced everyday and he did it stronger.

Scooting: Myles also started doing a little butt scooting. He really only did this a couple times and it was only if he was on the table like in the video. He would lean forward and put his hands down, then bring his feet in and push his butt back. I never wanted to let go of him though because his back was not strong enough yet and he would fallen back.

First time swimming: When we went on vacation to the Great Wolf Lodge, Myles went swimming for the first time (read: sat in the kiddie pool). Lately, he had been having lots of fun splashing and kicking around in the tub, so I just knew he would love going in the big 'tub.' Although there wasn't much he could do, he had fun just hanging in the pool for a bit. 

First swim lesson: After we got back from vacation, I began researching swimming for babies. I found a place in our town that started at 4 months. I was also looking for something to get us out of the house; an activity we could all do together. We went for our first trial class right before Myles turned 5 months. I figured it would be best for Mark to go in with him and I would dress him and such after. He didn't cry at all and was very attentive. He did swallow a little bit of water, and threw up some sweet potatoes :( But it didn't stop him from having the time of his life :) It's a really great class that gets little ones acclimated to the water. They sing songs and do fun activities all while teaching them beginner skills and pool safety. I think Myles taking these classes really fostered his physical development. I highly recommend swimming classes with your little ones!


  • Swimming: he clearly loved his swimming class. It was a perfect way for him to get practice with motor skills, interact with other babies, and spend quality time with his dada. Mark decided swimming class was going to be his thing with Myles. I did not object one bit! (I still had no energy and chlorine does a number on my skin).
  • Church: we had been going here and there since Myles was born, but we started being more consistent this month. I still was not comfortable with dropping him off at the daycare, so we just sat in the lounge area and watched on the TVs. They have a women only nursing room with TVs as well. It was very convenient to be able to feed Myles and not have to miss any of the service. Most of the time, he did really well. He liked seeing all the people and listening to the singing and sermons. 
With Aunt Jamie at church
  • Attention: With it being the holidays, we spent a lot of time with all sorts of family this month. Everyone wanted a piece of the little man and he soaked up every second of it! He got so much loving, cuddling, and affection he was in heaven. At this point, he was a huge people person; always loving being around lots of people and would let anyone hold him. He would take attention from anyone that would give it to him!
  • Eating from a bottle: As shared above, Myles still wanted nothing to do with the bottle. We tried everyday with absolutely no progress. Sometimes he would just play around with it, but if he was really hungry or was over it, he would get frustrated and mad.
  • Car rides: Still not loving car rides yet. Same as last month: if he was hungry, overtired, or it was dark out, he was not having it. I think he was over having to lay down in the bucket car seat. He hated not being able to see what was going on and/or being forced to lay down when he didn't want to. Unfortunately, he wasn't ready for the next step-up in car seats yet, so we just did our best at working around his best moods. 
  • Nighttime sleep: See sleep above ;)

And since we can't leave you on a negative note, here is some Myles cuteness:
Checking out the roller blade style :)
Come back to check out my favorites from months fives & six!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BlogLovin Hop at Journeys of The Zoo

Welcome to the Thursday Bloglovin' Hop at Journeys of the Zoo

I am super excited to be co-hosting this Bloglovin' Hop this week!
Sarah's hop always has great bloggers who are ready to mingle and make new friends! 

Meet Your Host:

Sarah authors Journeys of The Zoo where she documents the Daily Life and International Travels of The Zoo; Ed, Sarah, The Kids, two rescue dogs and a geriatric cat. She loves to support others, especially Canadians and share product reviews. Her posts are humorous and she does her best thinking while gardening. She became a Mother for the first (and last) time when she had Triplets in 2009. Sadly, Alexander passed away. These are the Journeys of The Zoo

Your Co-Host:

Bloglovin | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest 

Hello All; I'm Julia and I share my life as a first-time-stay-at-home-mother over at The Everyday Momma. I believe that as mothers we have unique parenting styles and relationships with our children, but we all share common goals, hopes, and dreams for our families; and in that way, we are all Everyday Mommas. My blog features all that I do as a SAHM: recipes, DIY, home decorating, reviews, advise, random tidbits of life, and of course all things Myles.
 As for me, I used to label myself as all sorts of things: college graduate, high school teacher, daughter, beach lover, reality TV addict... but now I have only one label and that's MOTHER. One day I plan on being all those things again (and so much more), but for now I will enjoy being the greatest thing a woman can be! 

Just One Rule:

In the "URL" field, please put a link to your direct BlogLovin profile.


Don't have a BlogLovin account?

Check out these step-by-step instructions by Fabulous Blogging and find out what the buzz is about. 

Please Spread The Word.

So don't be shy and link on up!

Monthly Favorites: Months Three & Four

When it comes to being a new mom, "free time" no longer exists. And if by some amazing miracle you happen to somehow get a couple of minutes to yourself, I doubt researching baby products is on the top of your list. Whenever my son is coming to a new age and needing new products, I heavily rely on my fellow mommy bloggers' recommendations. No need to waste precious 'you time' trying to navigate through the thousands of products out there only to find out they're poor quality or useless. So I decided to do my own monthly favorites posts to help out my fellow mommies!

I will also let you in on any deals or money saving tips with each product!

Monthly Favorites: Months Three & Four

1.Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper: I bought this because at the time I was reading everywhere that it helped so many babies sleep better and/or longer. If you have been following along with my Myles' Monthly updates, then you know about our struggles with sleep. I spent many sleepless days and nights reading about products that were supposed to help with sleep. I was so desperate that anything that worked for someone else, I tried. Just to name a few I tried: a fan, humidifier, sound machine, sleep suit, swaddlers, nighttime lotion, co-sleeping, crib, bassinet, swing, miracle blanket, rocking, nursing, and formula! But I digress; I'll be honest, I was hoping for a miracle with this one, but I figured it wouldn't work. No, it did not help Myles sleep any better or longer. However, this still makes my list of favorites because for the price it is an awesome portable bassinet. 
How I used it:
  • I easily took it to my parents for longer stays/ overnights and also on vacation for Myles to sleep in at the hotel. 
  • I used it to keep Myles in a safe place when I took a shower. Until he reached around 6 months, I would just strap him in, give him a few toys, and set him next to the shower. He could be right next to me, but was safe in the sleeper. 
  • Sometimes Myles would hang out in there while I made dinner or ate lunch. He was type of baby that always needed to be held, but sometimes I could get him to chill in the sleeper for a bit. 
  • He took a few naps in it, usually his last cat nap of the night. And we did use it for nighttime sleep as well. Some nights I would put him in the sleeper instead of his crib because my back was hurting and I couldn't even think of bending over and picking him up out of his crib 26 times again that night.
2. Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow: I got this pillow when I was pregnant. I found it on Walmart's website. I didn't want to spend a lot because I wasn't sure if it would help my sleep, so I opted for a cheaper one. Knowing now how much of a difference the body pillow makes in pregnant sleep and thereafter, I would have splurged and bought a really nice one. The reason this is on my 3 & 4 months favorites is because of our co-sleeping. This pillow worked really well for a bed barricade before Myles could start rolling consistently. One side of the bed was against the wall and the body pillow was on the other side just for added measure. I also used it to lean him on his side for side-laying nursing or when he had a hard time sleeping on his back. You can get so much good use out of this pillow, pregnancy and beyond. 
 3. Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Jumperoo: This jumper was one of the best and most used items we purchased. From months 3-6, Myles loved this thing. Before we ever put him in it, he was a jumper. He really liked to be held standing up on your lap so he could bounce up and down. Of course, when we found out a friend was selling their jumperoo, it was a no-brainer purchase for us! We got so much use out of this, it was well worth the $60 used. It has three different height settings so it grows with your baby. This one is farm themed with so many features to keep your little one occupied and learning for a while. There is a flip book and shape-sorter that plays songs and teaches colors and shapes. It has hanging and pop-up toys for sensory play. And lastly, the seat swivels all the way around! If you're looking for a jumper, I would 100% recommend this one!

4. Colic-Calm Homeopathic Gripe Water: I bought this stuff when Myles was going through an extra fussy phase. I was convinced he was colicky because he would cry every night for hours, with no way to calm him down. He would also have random times throughout the day that he would get upset and nothing would make him stop. By no means was this a miracle 'calmer' but it did seem to help sometimes. It think his colicky-ness came from tummy issues, however I did not like giving him gas drops. I don't know about all the ingredients in the drops, but this gripe water is homeopathic, so it is all natural. I suppose you really can't trust anything, but at least it claims to be natural. 

5. Baby Mickey's Book of Shapes: There is no link for this item because, unfortunately, I couldn't find this book anywhere online for purchase. It's an old, classic Golden Book. Whenever I see these at sales or thrift places, I tend to pick them up because I remember reading them when I was little. They have some really great classic stories. This was Myles' first favorite book. Because of his love of Mickey Mouse, I figured it would be a hit. Whenever we got it out, he would get super excited: smiling, kicking, and squirming around. It also happens to be educational (not that he had the capacity to learn about shapes then, but hey it didn't hurt!)

 6. SwaddleMe Microfleece: This was the first swaddle blanket that Myles liked. I had tried a regular one at about a month old and he wanted nothing to do with it.  I tried about 4 or 5 times then decided it wasn't his thing. Around 3 months old, I randomly gave it another try when I found this swaddler I got at my baby shower. It was getting close to his nap time, so I wrapped him up in it. To my surprise, he didn't cry and actually seemed to like it. I nursed him and laid him in his crib and he slept!!!! It was only 30 minutes, but with his sleeping (or non-sleeping, rather) history, this WAS a miracle. We continued swaddling for naps and also introduced it for nighttime sleep. It helped keep him from flailing all over the place during the 20 nursing sessions he 'needed' throughout the night :)
Lesson learned: babies' preferences change, sometimes even in just the matter of months!

7. Bright Starts Start Your Senses Shake, Rattle and Swim: I got this rattle as a baby shower gift from a friend. It was Myles' first toy that he played with. One day Myles was laying in his Rock 'n Play Sleeper and the rattle was sitting next to him. Out of no where, he was holding it by his chest and shaking it around!! I had been wondering when he was going to start gripping things and was starting to worry about why it wasn't happening, then he goes and shows me his new tricks :) It's perfect for babies just learning how to grip because it has a handle on the end that is shaped for their whole hand to grasp. It also has lots of colors and makes noise when you shake it. 

What are some of your favorite baby items right now and for what age group? I love hearing your recommendations!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fall Cara Box

When I became pregnant, I also became blog obsessed. I started following some awesome blogs and soon began to long for what they had: memories that were archived forever. I too wanted a place where I could express my feelings, record my experiences, and document all things Myles. Months and months passed by after Myles was born until I finally decided I needed to quit being a coward and just start my blog. Although I have always prided myself on being different, I can't deny that I am terrified of failure and not being well-liked/accepted. So needless to say, it was a huge deal for me to actually step into this blogging world.

Because I am so new and the blog world is already flooded with mommy blogs, I figured I needed to find ways to get involved in the community of bloggers! Fortunately, I found a great opportunity to do so when I was directed to Wifessionals by the blog gods. The blog's creator Kaitlyn came up with this awesome idea: Cara Box.

Cara Box

I mean what's better than making new friends, gifts in the mail, and letters of encouragement! Goldmine of an idea in my opinion. This is my second time participating. 

I was reluctant to sign up again because I didn't have the greatest experience the first time. I waited a couple of months and decided to give it another try. This time, my two partners were Jessica and Katy. I enjoyed my exchange and partners so much more this time. I'm glad I decided to give it another try.

The theme for this quarter was All Things Fall.

Go check out Jessica at All Things Ripple to see what I sent her. Check out her blog as well; she has an adorable 4 month old and is always crafting up some awesome ideas!

I received my box from Katy at The Claty Baby. She is due with her first baby in December! She was an awesome partner and really paid attention to my likes and interests. Everything she sent me was completely perfect for me. It was like Christmas came early.

Here is what was in my box:
I got a couple fall decor items: towels, napkins, and a burlap pumpkin (which I adore!) And also I got this really cute flower magnet. I had to take the picture of it separately because I put it on my fridge right away. I took the picture of the other things and forgot I already put the flower up :)

 She also sent some fun Halloween things! Black sparckle nail polish and sprinkles! And at first I thought the "Eat, Drink, & Be Scary" was a candle holder, which I was excited about, then when I unwrapped it, I realized it was a koozie: best Halloween item EVER! I used it immediately and it will using it year round! I don't care it's not Halloween anymore!

And here are some of the items put up in my house (taken from my Thanksgiving Decor post).

How did you guys like the Cara Box exchange this quarter? 
Can't wait to see the link ups!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall Wreath, Thanksgiving Mantle, and Decor

 I'm just a little late to the Thanksgiving decor game, but I figured I would post anyway. It took me forever to decide what to do with my wreath. I started it and then lost all creative juices, so it sat around for a while. Now that it's finally done, my house is ready for Thanksgiving... too bad no one will be here to see it.

But thankfully I have my blog world friends to share it with. 

First is my wreath. The base of the wreath is the same one I used for Halloween. I want to make a new wreath for each holiday every year because I like doing them so much, so I took apart the Halloween one and used it.


-Hay Wreath
-3 9-foot rolls of wide ribbon, 2 (18 feet) of one pattern and 1 (9 feet) of another
-1 roll of very narrow ribbon (I used gold)
-Individual fake leaves (I found bags of 50 at Dollar Tree)
-Small Bells (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
-Sewing pins

1. First take the wide ribbon (the pattern that you have 18 feet of) and wrap the wreath completely (picture 2 below). Secure the ribbon with the sewing pins. 

2. Next, take the other patterned ribbon (9 feet) and attach it to the wreath in a 'wave' design. You can see in pictures 3 & 4 how I did this. Using the sewing pins, I attached the ribbon to the wreath at every dip. Then I shaped the ribbon into a 'wave' by folding it over and creating a crease. (The best ribbon to use for this has the wiring on the edges). At the end, I had excess ribbon, so I looped it around to make a hanger.

3. Then, I wrapped the narrow, gold ribbon around the wreath in the same direction as the first ribbon. I placed the ribbon over each of the dips and wrapped it down around the back. I did this all the way around the wreath and then secured it with the sewing pins. 

4. Next. I used the fake leaves to make a 'bouquet' for the side of the wreath. I just layered the leaves and attached them with a pin. I did 4 separate 'bouquets' made up of around 6 leaves each. So I used about 24 leaves altogether. 

5. Lastly, I found some extra bells I had from another project and tied them together using a wire. I stuck a pin through the wire and into the center of the leaf 'bouquet.'

Next up is my Thanksgiving/Fall Mantle

If you checked out my Halloween Mantle & Fireplace, you may recognize some things. I kept my pictures, mirrors, and orange tapered candles.

1. I had some leaves left over from my wreath so I just scattered them on the mantle around the picture frames. I also added the burlap pumpkin (again from Katy) and the wheat stalk on the end. 
2. I found this glass bowl at goodwill for $10. I put it on a gold plate I had sitting in a cabinet. I used the remaining fake leaves to line the bowl and filled it with huge acorns I found at the park and some decorative balls I had left over from another project. Then on the plate I added some tiny gourds I found at the dollar store. 
3. I made three of these candle holders for the middle of the mantle. I just used a small glass fish bowl from the dollar store and filled it with an apple cinnamon candle and a mixture of plastic table scatter from the dollar section at Target (orange pumpkins and red & brown leaves).
4. I re-purposed the garland I made from Halloween. I kept the orange tassels and added brown in place of the black and maroon in place of the purple. 
5. I also kept the two orange glitter pumpkins from Halloween and placed them in between the glass candle holders.
Main picture: I used the extra roll of ribbon I bought for the wreath (I ended up not needing it) to drape around the mirror. And finally, I added gel clings to the mirror that read "Happy Thanksgiving".


I have a couple other random decorations around the house as well, some of which are compliments of my Fall Cara Box partner Katy. (Be on the look out for that post soon!)

1. Our eat-in dinning room table, complete with festive salt/pepper shakers, a little candle center piece, and a turkey holding our napkins :)
2. Fake paper leaves adorning the kitchen light 
3. I also got some really cute place mats that have die-cut leaves around the edges.
4. One of the towels from Katy (love the color scheme).

How are you all decorating for Thanksgiving? Having guests at your place? What kind of food are you planning on making/eating? I wold love to know!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Myles Monthly: 4

As you may know, I didn't decide to start my blog until my son Myles was about 8 months old. And well... now he is 14 months old! So I am focusing on getting caught up with monthly updates and monthly favorites, so I can get, and hopefully stay, up to date with current times. 

  November 15th-December 14, 2012

Born: 7 lbs 6 oz and 19.5 inches
Four Months: 16.5 pounds and 26 inches

Even with the finicky eating and occasional puking still going on from last month, Myles continued to pack on the pounds! He gained another pound this month and was right on track with his height! We had a well-check this month and also had to get some vaccines. After what we went through with his first shots, I was very reluctant to get these done again so soon. I thought about breaking them up, but ultimately made the decision to just get them all done and over with at once. Everything seemed fine afterwards; his temperament was totally normal and no fever either. He played the rest of the day and acted like nothing happened. Then around 8pm it started. Out of nowhere, he began crying and would not stop. Nothing helped, not even nursing. He cried and cried and cried for two hours straight! Around 10pm, I wrapped him up in his swaddle blanket and tried rocking and nursing him to sleep. He finally calmed down a bit and I was able to give him a pacifier. (So weird because he stopped taking a pacifier when he stopped taking a bottle). He fell asleep and slept from 10pm to 7am! That was the longest he ever slept through the night. That was glorious! Unfortunately, that was a total tease because it didn't happen again for about another 5 months :( He woke up about 85% better and only was a little fussy throughout the next day. I'm glad he didn't puke or get a fever that time, but it was another bad vaccine experience in my opinion.
  Mark and I got very sick on Thanksgiving (seemed to be like a 24 hour flu), but Myles was not effected at all! So grateful because I would not want to be sick and have to take care of a sick baby as well. Luckily, my parents were able to take Myles for the day, so we wouldn't keep spreading our sick germs all over him. I did breastfeed him while I was sick though. I read about it and mostly everything said that by the time I physically felt sick, the germs would have already been passed to him. So it wouldn't have mattered if I kept feeding him after I realized I was sick. And plus, it helps him build a strong immune system!

He was still teething like crazy; lots of drooling, extra saliva, and spit bubbles! EVERYTHING went in his mouth! Anything he could get his hands on and that would fit into his mouth would go in it! The more mobile he got, the more stuff he would find and be able to get in his mouth. Still no teeth, but lots and lots of chewing.

Eating: This month was probably the toughest in terms of our breastfeeding journey. Our issues from last month continued into this month and some others decided to join in as well. Myles was still doing the daily puking, but I wasn't stressed about it anymore. The doctor said everything was fine with him and the lactation consultant was fairly certain it was because of teething and extra saliva. He also still wasn't eating for very long during each session. But again, he was gaining weight and everything checked out, so I pretty much  stopped worrying about it and just made sure I was offering him often/feeding on demand. 

This month I decided to stop pumping. I just couldn't do it any longer! I was losing my mind over that dumb thing. I put myself under so much stress trying to maintain a stash in the freezer while still feeding throughout the day and night. I would be trying to pump while he was crying to eat. Then I would be cleaning the supplies while he was crying to eat. And if I waited until he was sleeping to pump, I never got anytime to do anything else (as his naps were only 30 minutes long). Plus, I barely got anything when I pumped; at first it would be about 4-5 ounces together per session. It slowly decreased over time to a point where the amount I was getting wasn't worth the effort I had to put into getting it. So one day I just stopped! I went back to strictly breast. Along with that came no more bottle for Myles. Prior to me stopping with the pump, Myles did very well with a bottle. We never had any problems switching back and forth. Myles went about three weeks with no bottle. I was never away from him, so I didn't need to give him one. Then Mark and I got sick on Thanksgiving and my mom took Myles for the day. I still had some milk left in the freezer, so I gave her most of what was left. When I talked to her at the end of the day, he only drank like 5 oz all day long, because he was refusing to drink from the bottle. Because Myles never had a problem with the bottle before, I didn't think he was going to forget how to drink from a bottle. Within 3 weeks time, he completely voided his mind of how to drink from a bottle. My mom said he would play around with the nipple and chew on it; doing this he would get a little milk out of the bottle, but not much at all. This was the beginning of Bottle Strike 2012 for Myles. And so began the impossible road to get Myles to take a bottle again... Spoiler Alert: we were never successful. Over the next 5 months, I tried everything to get him to take a bottle again with no progress to be made. More on this in the months to come :)

Sleep: What can I say about sleep or lack there of really. We definitely experienced the dreaded 4 month sleep regression; although I'm not sure it should have been called a regression when there was never a progression to begin with ;) His naps were still consistent, being 30 minutes long about every 1.5 hours. However night time sleep was a complete disaster. We kept our nighttime routine going (bath, swaddle, nurse, crib), but it did not make any difference in his sleep patterns. On average, he would wake up 8-11 times a night. His first wake up was always 30 minutes after he fell asleep, like he was still in nap mode or something. Then after that his sleep would range anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. The 3 hours sometimes happened after his first wake up, but on average he would wake up every 1.5 hours. Also, it had become increasing difficult to get him back to sleep. I had to be like a ninja warrior, stealth-fully putting him back into his crib after I nursed him back to sleep. I had to place him in the crib ever so slightly as to not wake him as he was laid down. As time went on, the process only got worse. It would sometimes take three tries to get him to stay asleep after I laid him back down. By 7am, I couldn't get up anymore so I would just lay him in bed with me and let him nurse until he was ready to get up, usually around 9am. My back started hurting a lot because of how many times I had to pick him up out of his crib throughout the night. Some nights I put him in the Rock N Play sleeper because I couldn't bend over his crib to pick him up anymore. 
Our night times were so exhausting, both physically and mentally, that I had no energy throughout the day. Even just typing this, I get emotional. I have never been through something so tough in my life. I honestly don't know how I made... seriously. I don't know how my body just didn't give up. I wasn't able to nap during the day with him either because he would only sleep for 30 minutes at a time, which is usually about how long it takes me to fall asleep. I could never get a break either, because he had stopped taking a bottle. He couldn't go anywhere away from me longer than the time between his feedings. My parents did come over and help a lot though, so I am grateful for that.

I was still swaddling him for naps and night time. If I didn't, his arms would be all over and he would wake up even more often than he already did. I tried all sorts of different swaddles because he always got out of them and would wake up from his flailing arms. I called him the Houdini baby because he could get his arms out of all the swaddlers. None of them were strong enough. I fixed one by adding more Velcro, but that didn't always work. Even the swaddle sacks weren't strong enough for this crazy kid :)

Crying: Still crying in the car seat; not all the time, but when he didn't want to be in it, you were going to know about it. Most of the car seat crying happened when it was dark out. 

After he stopped taking a bottle, he would get mad if I tried to feed him one when he was really hungry. I learned to only try the bottle when he wasn't too hungry, because then it he would be calm and in a better mood. If he wanted the breast and he got a bottle, he was not a happy camper.
  • As I mentioned above, Mark and I got really sick the night before Thanksgiving. I really don't know where it came from, but it was a rough one. I started feeling nauseous midday, but I didn't think much of it. It didn't seem to be getting any worse, so I ate dinner thinking all was fine. Immediately after eating, my stomach was in so much pain, I had to throw up. Once my stomach was empty, I felt better, but I didn't dare eat anything. Mark also wasn't able to keep anything down. I somehow made it through the night,  but I felt way worse when I woke up. I was really weak and could barely pick Myles up. I felt like there was no way I could take care of him all day when I couldn't even stand up myself. I called my mom right when we woke up. I was crying because I didn't want to miss my first Thanksgiving with Myles, but I knew there was no way I was going to make it. Of course, my wonderful mother offered to come get him and watch him for the day. 
  • So we packed him up and shipped him off to celebrate his first Thanksgiving with his grandparents, while Mark and I wasted away to nothing. Myles had a great time playing dress up, bouncing around, and getting a bath from grandma in the sink! I pretty much laid around and puked all day. Mark went to the store and bought us the most random Thanksgiving Dinner ever. I kept a couple bites down and eventually started to feel better by the end of the night. 
  • My mom offered to keep Myles over night, but he had only ate like 5 oz of milk all day long because he was refusing the bottle. I didn't want to starve him so I had her bring him back and she stayed the night with us. She helped me put him to bed and watched him in the morning again for a while. It seemed like he knew I was sick because that night he slept the longest he ever had; about 7 hours. (Then after that night, he went back to waking up all night long again.)
  • Being sick with a baby takes being sick to a whole new level! Luckily, he didn't get sick. I thought for sure he would because I continued to breastfeed him the whole time, but it didn't even phase him. Thank God for that.. Being sick with a sick baby.. I don't even want to know!

  • Myles got all sorts of loving when we went to my cousin's son's birthday party (I don't know what they are to each other... second cousins.. does anyone know that stuff?!?) He stole the show, as usual. Everybody wanted a piece of the stud-muffin. He even fell asleep on my aunt's chest.

  • Myles FINALLY got his first professional pictures done this month. I don't know why I waited so long to get them done. I wanted them to include family pictures, but I wasn't feeling up to getting my pictures taken yet, so I just got his done. I wish I would have had newborn ones done; even now I almost forget how little he was and what he looked like. *Hashtag BadMommy* I can't wait to get more done, they turned out so great. Check them out here, if you missed them!
Here is a little pre-photo session at our house: LOVE his gummy smiles! 


Playing on playmat:This month Myles started playing with the toys on his playmat. He would lay on his back and bat at the hanging toys and try to grab them. If in the right mood, he would play for 10-15 minutes under his mat.

Holding a toy: This month Myles picked up and held a toy for the first time. I had his fish rattle laying next to him in his Rock 'N Play. It was right by his hand; he grabbed it and brought it up to his mouth. Once he figured that out, he started putting EVERYTHING in his mouth... well anything that was around him that he could pick up, that is! 
Chewing on his other favorite rattle
Making bubbles: Because of teething, Myles started having lots of saliva in his mouth. It caused lots of trouble with his eating, but he also picked up a habit of making spit bubbles! 
My little chubbers :)


  • This month was all about teething! Anything he could get into his mouth, went there and stayed as long as I would let it! Since he was now able to pick up toys and such, he could put all sorts of stuff in his mouth to chew on. His hands still remained his number one choice though. But he would be happy with just about anything as long as it would fit in there. His also started sucking on his lower lip; I'm guessing that must have helped with his teething too.
  • He started to show some excitement and interest towards things. It was very clear that he began to be peaked by certain things over others. He preferred specific toys and characters over others. At this point, Mickey Mouse was the leader of the pack! He would get really happy whenever he saw Mickey in a book or on TV. I think it is his high pitch voice that reeled him in :)
  • He loved getting crazy in the bath tub! He would start kicking and splashing and get all riled up. As you can see in the picture, I would put his favorite fish toy on the end of the bath and then he would kick his feet and make the fish fall in the water. He loved that fish sooo much! It always made him happy in the tub. As you can also see, he would get so crazy in the tub that he would end up sideways. He did this all the time! Pretty much the whole time he was in the bath, I would have to constantly be moving him back straight, so he would actually be in the water. Otherwise, he would move around so much that he would get stuck halfway out of the tub!

  • His love for the jumperoo continued into this month! (He pretty much was the happiest in his jumperoo until he was able to crawl at 6 months.) I stopped having to put the pillow on the floor because he could reach now! His legs got an awesome work out everyday in that thing!


  • Myles' dislike of the car seat reached its pinnacle this month. Very rarely did he stay calm when he had to be in his car seat; only right away in the morning or if he was sooo tired that he would fall asleep. I learned that trying to take him out when it was dark was great way to put me in an anxiety ridden panic attack! He hated being stuck in his seat when it was night time. There may have been a few times I had a total break down from trying to get somewhere with Myles by myself as he was literally putting himself into a crazed, crying frenzy. One time on the way home from my parents house, he was screaming the whole way. I found myself getting frustrated because I didn't understand why he was so upset and I couldn't do anything about it being that we were in the car. When I got home, I saw that he got himself so worked up that he threw up ALL over! He, along with his car seat and blanket, were soaked in breast milk vomit. I felt so bad. Needless to say, night time car rides were limited to very, very special occasions or extreme circumstances. 
  • As I talked about above under eating, Myles stopped taking a bottle. When I tried to start feeding him from a bottle again (after taking about a three week break), he wanted nothing to do with it. Whether he just didn't want it anymore or he unlearned how to eat from it, the bottle was now a foreign object to Myles. He would not take milk from it and when I or anyone tried, he would either just play around with it (chew on it, push it out, etc.) or get upset (if he was really hungry). 
  • Depending on his mood, sometimes bath time was a dislike for Myles. About 2 times a week, he just did not want his bath. Since he started teething hardcore, I would get his washcloth wet and hold it in his mouth for him to chew on. I think sometimes it would bring his attention to the fact that his teeth were hurting, so he would get really upset and just want to get out of the tub. I would try to get him to play around and splash, but once he was upset there was no making him happy again. On those nights, bath time ended early :)
And to end, a couple random shots from Myles' 4th month!

Laundry baby :)

Come back to check out my favorites from months three & four!