The Necessities

I've been slowly hitting the liquor cabinet today, in preparation of tonight's errand run to Babies R Us. (If you are unfamiliar with my disdain for this store, check this out.) If I were drunk, would it make it easier to tolerate the massive amounts of baby-this and baby-that? I wonder.

No worries, folks. I'm sober. Heading to the baby mega-mart this evening to return some Carter's jammies that tore after one wear and one washing and to shop off a friend's baby registry. I'm tempted to just give her a gift card. I know it's impersonal, but those were my favorite of all shower and baby gifts! That and diapers.

A recent post at one of the blogs I regularly follow got me thinking about favorite baby gifts...
My favorite gifts were:
  • diapers -- Before choosing to cloth diaper, we used Pampers, and we went through them like crazy. We'd received several packs as gifts. It was so nice to have a stockpile of them!

  • gift cards to Target and Babies R Us (Despite hating the store, there are still some things that you need, and that's where you have to buy 'em.) I used to think gift cards were impersonal, but they are great because new parents are always in need of SOME THING!

  • embroidered/monogrammed burp cloths - I like monogrammed stuff. Love to see Greta's name on stuff. I know not everyone is all frilly like that, but regardless -- it's fun to have a jazzed up every-day item.

  • books - I love to read. And I love to read to Greta. Children need to be read to. I don't think you can have enough books. If you get duplicates, keep one upstairs and one downstairs.

  • steaks - Some friends gave us a gift card to Omaha Steaks. His girlfriend was appalled. We were so appreciative, though! We ordered a couple cases of filet mignons, and it's been a treat. We don't always have the time to go out for a nice dinner, and it's so nice to just be able to thaw out some steaks, grill 'em, and have a nice meal.

And, with the risk of sounding ungrateful, which I don't mean to be... Things I could have done without:

  • baby bath robe -- Okay, fine. You think you're going to put your kid in a robe his/her bath, great. For us, that just wasn't gonna happen. Bath time is a friggin' CHORE, folks. By the time it's over, you're so glad that you didn't piss off the baby too much and that you've got her clean. You will not be in the mood to throw her in a bathrobe. If you are, kudos to you.

  • rubber ducks -- One is nice. Two make great bath buddies. But we have a whole flock of them. Some are dressed in princess gear, and another is wearing a Hawaiian lei. Some are still in the packaging. Perhaps I should make one of those pick-a-duck games you played at the local county fair as a child?

  • socks -- The only socks I will spend my money on are Trumpette socks or socks from Gymboree. Trumpette socks are pricey, yes. But they are really the only socks that have stayed on Greta's feet. I'd rather spend my money on something we've used the heck out of than than something cheap that doesn't work. Cheap socks are a waste of money.
  • any outfit made out of velvet, cashmere or any other pricey fabric -- I just had to have this holiday dress from Pottery Barn Kids. It was velvet. And dry clean only. ... She never wore it for Christmas, so I made sure she wore it on Valentine's Day. She spit up on it like five times that day.

  • things YOU think are just the greatest -- Gifts are great. And I'm so grateful to our friends and family who have given Greta gifts. But just because the Evenflo bottles worked great for you, doesn't mean they'll be everyone's favorite, too. Just because the lavender-scented bath wash relaxed you, doesn't mean it won't cause hives on someone else's child. And, my all-time favorite -- if, after scrutinizing someone's baby registry and PRIOR to shopping for that person, you ask them what they need, and they've already told you that they don't need that particular item, don't buy it for them just because it worked for your kid (who is now 13) when she was a baby. Maybe they already have that item. Or maybe they don't want that item. Some people don't want lots of baby clutter decorating their house.

  • baby blankets - I have enough blankets for Octomom's entire brood. Granted, I was the stupid one who over-registered for all these. I didn't realize I wouldn't need 50 receiving blankets and 15 stroller blankets. Turns out, my favorite blankets are my blankets from when I was little (they're so soft and broken in!) and then one a friend made me just because it's in a funky pattern and is unique.
Let me note... You could have told me all of this 8+ months ago and I wouldn't have heeded the advice. I think it's every mom's rite of passage, so to speak, to go a little willy nilly with buying her baby new things - regardless if those things are impractical or useless. How else do you learn?


Random Daily Observations

If you feed your baby canned beef meat, and it smells like dog food BEFORE consumption, it will still smell like dog food after it's burped up and on your shirt.

If you're going to have your naked baby on carpeted floor, be prepared for a potty accident.

Andrea, are you f-in' stupid? Yep, I'm sure that's what you're thinking as you're reading this. Because, if I were reading your blog, I'm sure I'd be thinking something similar. I'm going to blame the stupidity on the sleep deprivation of last week. Yep, er, that's my excuse.

Greta's got a bit of diaper rash, so we've been having naked time for a few moments each day, as air is supposedly the best remedy for diaper rash. I usually set Greta on a few blankets and towels in case she pees while naked. That hasn't been so efficient the past few instances of airing-out-the-baby-booty. For one, Greta is moving like a worm and quickly moves herself off the "potty mat" and onto the carpet. Two, I guess I've been silly to underestimate the amount of bodily fluids that can come out of a little baby -- because apparently, a towel and a couple blankets aren't enough layers to keep the pee from getting to the carpet. Just a few moments ago, I heard Greta grunting, her familiar sounds indicating she's pooping. Or thinking about it. And there popped out poop, onto the blanket.

For the record, Eric, there's no poop on the carpet, and I'm going to soak up the pee and clean the carpet so it's good as new.

Just as soon as I'm done tinkering on Facebook.

In Case You Cared...

Tomorrow is National Pancake Day! Go to IHOP on Tuesday, February 24 and get yourself a short stack for FREE!


Free Photos @ Walgreens

I love me a good deal!

Good, for today only, get 20 free photo prints when ordering online at Walgreens. When checking out, just enter the coupon code: ONEDAY .


Let's Have a Little Talk

Dear Greta,

This letter will not be sweet and flowery like many of my others. I'm keeping this short and sweet.

The multiple middle of the night awakenings? Not cool.

Please give us back the 10-hour sleep-through-the-night schedule. Name your price. I'll give you what you want.

Sleepy Mama



Have y'all heard about the incident at North Carolina Denny's restaurant where a customer was breastfeeding her child, and she was asked to leave because of it? http://www.wlos.com/shared/newsroom/top_stories/wlos_vid_2107.shtml

I don't have much to write about this just because it's left me a bit speechless. Wow.


The Map Room

Back when I had time to kill and was out and about (translate: easier access to newspapers and magazines), I enjoyed reading St. Louis' Sauce Magazine. I loved reading about St. Louis' newest eateries and planning where I'd next dine. I now spend my time reading web sites like this and this, leaving no time for dreams of where I'll next stuff my face.

However, I received an e-mail from an old friend, announcing the opening of a new little coffee shop in town, called The Map Room. Looks cozy, don't you think?


7 Month Intoxication

Dear Greta,

As I write this, it's a rainy, chilly February day. It's the kind of day where you'd like to stay in bed all day while reading a good book with a snoozing dog at your feet. Alas, that's no longer the life of this mom-of-a-seven-month-old! While you're in your crib all snugly and napping, I'm curled up on the couch, donning my spit-up stained pjs, watching talk-show host/chef Rachael Ray interview a father whose wife died the day after giving birth to their daughter.

That dad's name is Matt Logelin. His story is a tragic one. It makes mama sad to think about it too much. But it also makes me remember that there is overwhelming joy after unbearable sadness, that there is undeniable happiness in the smallest of things. I'm crying as I watch the interview. I'm crying because it's such a sad story, and I can't fathom walking in the shoes of that mom, dad or baby girl. I'm crying, too, though because I am so very grateful as I am reminded of my blessings, of living a life I of which I've always dreamt.

I think that each month, I tell you what a beautiful month it's been and how it's been the best so far. It's true though. It just keeps getting better. The past seven months have been the most fulfilling of my life. I've watched you grow from a quiet, tiny preemie to a serene, yet bubbly, inquisitive baby. I've witnessed your first grins, heard your first giggles, soothed your cries, fed your needs and loved every moment of it.
I often note my gratitude for you, your health and your accomplishments, but I often fail to thank Daddy, the man who enables me to live this life with you. Daddy, the man who gets up early each morning and works all day -- all for me and you -- has made me realize that the gift of time is the most precious.
I covet my time with you.

I have a lot of mommy friends who say, "Oh, I could never do that. I could never stay home all day long. I'd go nuts." And while I don't judge moms who work outside of the home -- whether it be by choice or necessity -- I have to admit that I can't imagine my life any other way
While Daddy has provided me with the gift of time, you have graced me with presence, teaching me to live in the moment of here and now. I have spent many moments in my life just going through the motions, walking in fog, not truly feeling true emotion. I have both purposely and sometimes unconsciously voided events and memories in my life in attempts to bypass the risk of hurt, and I know that at the same time, I've caused myself to also miss out on other raw emotions, like joy. Not with you, though. You have opened the gates to my heart, and it's constantly flooded with the delight of YOU.

Stories like Matt Logelin's remind us that we often take things for granted. Life is too short. I know this by how fast it's been flying by. I've spent the past month playing catch-up on scrapbooking your photo albums. Because I don't want to ever forget any of this bliss. Like when you're 13 and think I am embarassing and would rather pretend to not know me. Or when you're 15 and think you know every thing and that I know nothing. I want to chronicle your life -- milestone by moment by minute. I don't want to forget. Any of it.
Like how I fell in love with you in the sixth month for all different reasons than why I'd fallen in love with you before. The raspberries during dinner and the loving to swim in the bathtub and the fascination with your feet. The way you crinkle your little button nose when you try a new vegetable and the way you devour sweet fruit with each new bite. The way you've become intrigued by your doggie Payton and the way you curiously and intently stare out the front window, soaking in the uneventful mid-afternoon nothings of our neighborhood.

You. The sweet moments with you. I am so intoxicated by these simple things.



Baby Loves Disco

I love dancing with Greta. I can't dance well, but it makes Greta giggle, and that makes me happy. St. Louis needs one of these.


The 25 Random Things Quandary

Facebook. Ahhhh. FB. I could write so many postings all related to Facebook, but right now, I'm off to bed. Or trying to get there. Thing is, FB is this big ol' nothing that sucks your time. Half an hour ago, I said, "In ten minutes, I'm going to bed." And here I am. I've got a good excuse though -- I'm working on my 25 random things list. You know, that list on Facebook that everyone and their brother wrote and sent in their "notes" section THREE WEEKS AGO? Well, I am just now jumping on the bandwagon. I didn't think I could come up with 25 things. And right now, I'm too tired to finish the list, but I've gotten to #18, and dangit, I don't want to lose my hard work, and I can't figure out how to just save it on Facebook, so I'm gonna post it here.

1. I attach my socks together with safety pins. I've done this since high school. It keeps them from getting lost from one another in the laundry and then I don't have to sort them when putting them away.
2. I love lists.
3. I'm pretty obsessed with teeth but don't wear my retainer like I should. If I had extra cash lying around, I'd have braces put back on. ... I find it extremely repulsive when people pick their teeth after eating.
4. My least favorite thing about breastfeeding is that I can't have my teeth professionally whitened.
5. I never planned on breastfeeding my baby but after she didn't respond well to formula while in the NICU, I figured it was the least I could do. I'm glad I decided to breastfeed. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made.
6. I have a hard time sitting still to focus on anything. That's been the hardest thing about breastfeeding for me - forcing yourself to sit down and live in that moment. It's a good lesson for me, though.
7. I wish tanning didn't cause skin cancer. Sleeping in a tanning bed is the best nap I've ever had. I cancelled my membership to The Tan Co. a couple months ago since I hadn't tanned in over a year and decided the responsible thing to do would be to ... not tan.
8. I love the mashed potatoes that you get in hospital cafeterias.
9. I tend to overcook things when cooking. My husband says that he is amazed how each time I cook, it's like the first time I've ever done it.
10. I love cupcakes. Love decorating them -- and cakes, too.
11. My passion is writing. That's what I did straight out of college. I wish I could find another job writing.
12. I enjoy a good deal. More than anything, I love buying stuff that is on sale and using coupons. I don't go to the grocery store or Target without saving at least $20 using coupons.
13. I can't sing but wish I could. Because I love karaoke. IF NO ONE ELSE IS PRESENT TO HEAR ME.
14. I'm terrible about keeping my checkbook balanced but not as bad as I used to be.
15. I love reading Web sites about frugal living.
16. As much as I'd like to deny it, I am so my mother's daughter. (See #s 12 and 15.)
17. My favorite books to read as a child were the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary. I also liked Adventures in Babysitting. Sweet Valley High books were good, too!
18. I never liked the New Kids on the Block. I liked Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. I now like Michael Buble, Alan Jackcon, Taylor Swift, Frank Sinatra, Martina McBride, Jeb Lloyd Nichols, Ben Harper and some others.

Safety Recalls

A couple months ago, I signed up to receive e-mail updates on any recalls related to children's toys, clothing, etc. Thankfully, I've never owned any of the items recalled, but it's given me a little peace of mind knowing the info is out there. If you'd like to sign up for e-mail updates, too, here's the link: http://www.cpsc.gov/.


Because I Like This

I subscribe to the blog, Simple Marriage, and while skimming through today's e-mail feed, I read this and really liked it.

I've got all these new year's resolutions and goals that I've been working on, and I am proud to say that I've really been working at the core of things, starting with myself. I think that's why I liked this little twist to the all-time classic Serenity Prayer.