Friday, September 17, 2010

Food for my Soul

Every night when I rock you to sleep or tuck you into bed,
I remind myself to stop thinking
about work
about housework
about what's on tv
about how tired, hungry and stressed I am.

Just delight in the feel of your weight in my arms,
the softness of your cheek against mine,
your hand on mine,
softly singing a lullaby or looking at the stars on your ceiling.

These moments are food for my soul: 
I just want to drink them all in.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mama Go!!!

Look out ya'll- I'm back! It's been a very long time, but I got a swift kick in the pants this week. Somebody I thought knew me said (not meaning to insult) that my mind just didn't think creatively. As somebody who has always felt most comfortable being creative, this cut very deep. How did I get so far from where I started? Where is the music, the writing, the creating? Apparently I need a creative outlet outside of work, and you all are my subjects.

I'll leave you with the cutest thing Kaden has done to date. He has been slow to start speaking so far- everyone tells us it is because he is learning two languages at once. Although he may be slower to speak, it will actually help him learn faster when he is older. Even now you can tell he understands pretty much everything you say to him. Yesterday, he was trying to avoid coming downstairs for breakfast and was playing around at the top of the stairs. I had Em in my arms and was trying to talk him into coming downstairs. Kaden held his stuffed Tigger up to Em and said "Mei Mei Tigger wuv u!" It was the LONGEST sentence he had ever said and it absolutely melted my heard!

Then to follow up, when I pulled out of daycare on the way home today he yelled "Mama go!" The kid definitely has a big personality!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Favorite Things- Baby Gear!

FINALLY, I am ready to post some of my favorite things for baby gear and having 2 kids under the age of 2! As with my other favorite things posts, I do not officially endorse any of these products. These are merely my experiences and a few of things that have become my favorites over the past 18 months. I'm all for anything that makes life easier, because as every other person I see when I am out in public with both my 18 month old and my 4 months old, I have my hands full! This post is dedicated to my friend Katie, her husband and their little twin miracles who will soon be here!

1. www.diapers.com- Fabulous website to get diapers, wipes, soaps, almost anything. They take manufacturers’ coupons and run sales. Free shipping when you spend $50 (very easy to do since 1 box of diapers is $34) and if you order by 6pm they literally deliver the next day. We even ordered all of Kaden’s jarred baby food (Earth’s Best) through them. They have value packs of the jars and I would order a month’s worth at a time. That with a couple boxes of diapers weighed about 70 pounds, but they still delivered everything next day for free.

2. Strollers

o Graco Snug Ride Infant Car Seat Frame- It costs less than $60 and the car seat just snaps right in. It only works while they fit in the infant car seat, but it is so light and convenient (with great storage underneath). We didn’t get the whole stroller system and went from this to an umbrella stroller. They make a double version of this, too.

o For 1 child, we went straight from the car seat frame to the Maclaren Quest Sport umbrella stroller and loved it. It cost a bit more, but extends so the kid can rest their legs, comes with a rain cover, and is really light and easy to use.

o With a second baby, we went with the Baby Trend Deluxe Double Sit N'Stand. It is the cheapest one we found, but it seems like we will be able to use it longer. You can have 2 infant carriers snapped on, and when they outgrow those you can have them strapped in like it’s an umbrella stroller. Eventually, the back seat comes off and it has a little jump seat for older kids. It was lighter than the other double strollers, easy to steer and fit through places. The storage underneath isn’t that great, but the other pros to this one outweighed that for me. *Make sure you try your infant carrier in any stroller before you buy to make sure it fits. Just because the packaging says it is compatible doesn’t mean it will work well!*

3. Baby Carrier- Of all the baby carriers we tried, the Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier is by far our favorite. It is really easy, comfortable and lightweight. We have really put miles on ours and it is so convenient. Very easy to get baby in and out quickly for diaper changes.

4. High Chairs- We have the Safety 1st 5 Recline and Grow 5 State Booster Seat (for our first we have Fisher Price’s version of this, but I like the Safety 1st one better). These take up a lot less space than a traditional high chair, cost significantly less, and convert to a regular booster seat as the child grows. One of the things I like about this one is that the tray goes on and off with 1 hand which is very handy when you have 4 little hands trying to grab at everything!

5. Bottles- We have used Avent, Born Free, and Playtex Dropins.

o Avent- My husband likes the Avent best because they have few pieces and are easy to clean. I like the older ones, but not as big of a fan of the newer ones with the extra piece for the vent(it always seems to leak for me).

o Born Free- These are my favorites, but my husband’s least favorite because they have 1 more piece than the Avent, making it a bit more difficult to clean. I never had leakage with these and they always worked for the baby.

o Playtex Dropins- These are the easiest. It’s just the frame, a nipple and a ring with the BPA free dropin liner when you need a bottle. We use these for daycare since we can just send in a few clean ones easily and leave a box of the liners there. We always use these when we are out and about since you can take just one bottle and pack a few extra nipples & liners to use later. It’s still stuff you have to carry with you, but it’s stuff that takes up less space than carrying around 3 bottles per child. If I had to pick just 1 type of bottle, this would be it for me.

6. Monitors

o Summer Infant Handheld Video Monitor- It costs more and we probably wouldn’t have bought it for ourselves, but it is awesome! We mount a little camera above the crib and it has night vision so you can see the baby. From the handheld monitor, you can zoom in and move the camera around so if the baby moves you can see them. It has audio, too, so you can hear.

o Sony Baby Call Baby Monitor- we also had a Sony audio monitor for the first child and it worked great (it just didn’t have the video). The best thing about that one is that it is voice activated, so you only hear it if the baby makes vocal noises and not just if they move around.

7. Bottle Sterilizer- We went all out and got the Avent BPA Free iQ 24 Electric Steam Sterilizer. It costs more than a microwave sterilizer, but it is so easy and convenient to use. It is something that will be permanently in use and there will not be enough time to ever put it away, so the space savings you would have by being able to put the microwave one in a cabinet doesn’t really help. We use it daily and you can put other types of bottles in there. We put nipples, any kind of bottle, sippy cup parts, pacifiers, and on and on!

8. Food Warmer- We got the Avent BPA Free Bottle/Food Warmer and it is so convenient. Especially when you have a screaming baby wanting their food now in the middle of the night. It heats up faster than using hot water to sit the bottle in and doesn’t overheat it as long as you use the right setting (there is a button for food being heated up from room temperature or from refrigerated, and different settings for if it is food instead of a bottle). If you use the Playtex Dropin bottles, just set the amount at about half to avoid overheating since those liners are thinner than a bottle and heat faster (for example, if it is a 4 ounce bottle, set it to heat up 2 ounces)

9. Bibs- Bumpkins Bibs are far and away my favorite bibs for once you start on cereal and solid foods. They are cute, give good coverage, and don’t start to look bad once they are washed (machine washable and dryable of course!)

10. Baby Fingernails! These are so scary! I’ve been told that at some point you will likely knick the baby at some point trying to trim them, but I’m terrified of that. For a long time I just used little baby emery boards to keep the nails short and dull. We used a lot of mitts, too, especially at night.

11. Sleeping- To reduce the risk of SIDS, you aren’t supposed to put anything in the crib with the baby other than a sheet on the mattress. To keep baby comfy and safe at the same time, this is what I liked best:

o Crib Mattress Pad - helps make it a bit softer and cozier for baby.

o Breathable Baby Bumper - these are mesh bumpers that come in a variety of colors to help protect little hands and heads from the edges of the crib without creating a suffocation hazard like traditional bumpers do.

o SwaddleMe- Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe Wraps are great. In the hospital they teach you how to swaddle with a receiving blanket, but as the baby gets bigger (or during the middle of the night when your head is all fuzzy and sleepy) it is easier said than done. These take the work out of it and are so easy to use. They keep baby warm and cozy but there isn’t anything that could get up in the baby’s face.

o Sleep Sacks- Once the baby figures is able to get out of a swaddle, the Halo Sleep Sack is a great wearable blanket. Both the SwaddleMe and Sleep Sack come in either knit cotton or fleece depending on the season you need it for. For the Sleep Sack, just stick a long-sleeved onesie on underneath it. Carter and Gerber also make some, but they don’t last as long size-wise especially if you have a baby that’s a bit on the big side like mine are!

12. Skin Care-

o Aquaphor!!! We use SO MUCH Aquaphor in our house (there isn’t any difference between regular and the baby one, but they charge a bit more for the baby one). Both babies had eczema and dry skin issues, and Aquaphor is the only thing that helped keep it at bay consistently. The other thing that helped was:

o California Baby Calendula Cream and Calendula Everyday Lotion- These are organic and paraben-free and contain calendula, a natural skin healer. The cream is more concentrated and the lotion is great for everyday use. We mostly get the lotion since it is more cost effective and that is my favorite thing for my little girl’s face (when I put Aquaphor on her face it seems to be too greasy and makes her face break out. We use Aquaphor on her body and the calendula lotion on her face). Bonus: it smells awesome!

14. Munchkin The Medicator This is my favorite new find! You put the medicine or whatever in the cup and the baby takes it through the nipple, just like drinking out of a bottle. It is SO much easier than using a dropper! We give my youngest gripe water through this and she drinks it right up through this.

15. Gripe Water- My youngest has tummy issues and gets very fussy, especially at the end of the day. She seems to have an upset tummy and is a big time spitter. I tried gripe water and was amazed at how well it worked. It doesn’t fix anything, but it contains natural herbs that are soothing to the stomach and seemed to give her some relief. We have used Baby's Bliss Gripe Water and Colic Ease Gripe Water with good results both times.

16. Burp Rags- I love the pretty ones, but Gerber Premium Cloth Diapers Prefold work so much better. They are thicker and larger than pretty ones and are a necessity, especially if you have a spitter. A very good friend of mine put some pretty ribbon on the edges of some of these and that was an awesome gift- large and absorbent, but still pretty!

Brought to you by the dynamic duo- Kaden & Emily!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Emily is Here!

Emily Jen-Man Chang surprised us all a little bit early and is here! She was born on October 26, 2009, at 8:35 pm, weighing in at 7 pounds 2 ounces, 20 inches long.

On Monday, October 26th, I went to work like any other day. I had contractions all weekend, but nothing progressed although something felt different than the braxton hicks contractions I'd been having they never turned into anything. I left work at lunch time, stopped by the mall to exchange some clothes and pick up some gifts for Kaden's teachers. Then I went to Kaden's school to pick him up and go to the pediatrician since he had been pulling on his ears all weekend. I was still having contractions and started to look at the clock to see if they developed into a pattern. I took Kaden to the pediatrician and the contractions started to pick up. As we left the doctor's office, I called Rob and he said to go ahead and come home. I got just a bit further down the road when I pulled over to call him back and tell him to meet me at the hospital.

I went to the OB's office and they verified that I was indeed in labor almost 2 weeks early and sent me up to labor & delivery. This whole time I'd been taking care of things and carting Kaden around with me while I WAS IN LABOR! Those of you who have held Kaden know how solid, heavy and strong he his and I am fairly amazed that I made it! It's pretty amazing what mothers are able to do when it comes to taking care of their kids. Once we got sent upstairs to labor & delivery, Rob called my friend Jen to ask if she could come get Kaden for a sleepover. She was a blessing who saved us that night since my mom was planning on getting here for the scheduled c-section! My mom immediatley took off and drove through the night to arrive the next morning.

Since Emily was breech and we needed a c-section, I thought I would go straight into surgery and not have to go through all the labor pains anymore. However, it took FOREVER! Nobody could get an IV started on me and I ended up with 15 needle sticks before it was all said and done. The anesthesiologist actually ended up being the only person who could get me hooked up. Since it was after hours, there was just 1 anesthesiologist on call and he was busy with an emergency and kept calling in to say 20 more minutes till he could come in for my surgery. I was getting slightly frustrated by the end of it and by the time he got there I could have pushed if Emily had not been breech. I ended up doing all the labor except for pushing before I could get any drugs and get the surgery! Thankfully I was able to stay awake for the surgery and could tell when the pulled Emily out- hearing her cry for the first time was so amazing and such a relief after such a difficult pregnancy! She was just perfect!

My mom stayed with us for 2 weeks and was an enormous help to me and Kaden's buddy. She was able to take him to the Halloween events at his school. They really bonded during this time and I am so glad they had that time!

C-sections are NOT fun and I would have definitely preferred to be able to deliver her myself. Thankfully, after 3 weeks I am starting to feel like a human again and have somehow lost all the weight I gained with the second pregnancy- probably thanks to being able to nurse this time. Everything with getting pregnant, the pregnancy, the delivery, and nursing has been completely different this time than it was the first time! Somehow I have been able to experience infertility, a surprise pregnancy, delivering a vaginally and via c-section, not being able to nurse and having no trouble nursing all over the course of the past few years. As different as these experiences are, they left me with a son and a daughter that I am completely in love with and will cherish every moment with them. I am truly blessed and immensly grateful!

My beautiful baby girl!




















Meeting Gramma for the first time.
















Both my babies!















Kaden kind of likes his baby sister :-)
















My favorite pic of Baba and his girl so far













Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kaden's 1st Year Choice

While looking for a specific post I did a while back, I found this post that I never actually posted! In Taiwan, when I baby turns 1 you lay out several items and let the baby choose one. This gives some insight into what he will be like as he grows up. We laid out a musical maraca, a cell phone, a book, a Dunkin Donuts munchkin, and a remote control.

Kaden's first choice was the cell phone, followed VERY closely by the donut! He then checked out the book, and briefly checked out the remote control and the musical toy. But he was DEFINITELY most interested in the cell phone and donut. I like to think it means that he will be a social little guy who knows how to enjoy the sweeter side of life!















Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pooplosion!

Someday Kaden will hate me for posting a story like this, but after it was all over it was hilarious! Kaden was playing with his toys while Baba & Mama were in the kitchen. I kept thinking I smelled something and that Kaden must have a poopy diaper. He had just finished eating and was about 5 minutes away from going upstairs to get ready for bed. Baba went over to take him upstairs and said "Oh no! There's poop everywhere!!" This really isn't what anybody wants to ever hear, whether it involves babies, dogs, ANYTHING. He carried Kaden about a foot in front of him upstairs to get an emergency bath while I cautiously entered the stink zone to survey the damage. Apparently, Kaden had a bit of a diaper wedgie (it can happen!) and was sitting on his little lazy boy type of chair. Poop got on the chair and on the floor right in front of the chair...which he then stepped in...and then walked halfway across the room to his car leaving a trail of poop-prints...and then sat in his car, where more poop squished out. We had to clean the chair, the carpet, and disinfected the car, too. Thankfully, all the poop-prints came out of the carpet and you can't even tell anything happened.

After it was all said and done, I laugh everytime I think about it. We made it almost 14 months before we had our first pooplosion!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fun at Dinner Time

Kaden is really learning to be independent now, and doesn't like to have us feed him anymore. Spoons are still a bit hard to figure out, but he tries!

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After he finished eathing, he headed straight for one of his favorite toys- his car! Just this week he discovered that he can make the car move...just backwards for now, but he can go! (I had trouble getting the video of that to upload, but I promise I'll try again soon.)

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This last one is just because he is so stinking cute sometimes!

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