Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time is flying

I cannot believe that Zoe will be one soon. I'm prepping for her party and even though it seems like time flew, it is also awesome to see my little girl growing up.  
For her party we only have about 20 something people coming (counting the  kids). I want it to be cute but also laid back, but it is easy to get distracted while looking at my inspiration at Pinterest (if you want to check it out, look for Zoe's 1st birthday). Often, I have to remind myself that: 1) I can't spend much (I haven't officially worked on a budget but I'm trying to make things myself as much as possible and cut costs as I dream of the perfect party). 2) there is no perfect party and she won't remember much. Mainly, she will look back one day and just be happy that we were celebrating. 3) don't make it a big deal, there will be more years to come and she will even enjoy it more later. 4) this big 1st birthday party is a late trend. Don't just do things to be cool, do it for your baby. Too much IS too much for them. Keep it simple, have fun and work around their schedule. Zoe's party will be a 2 hour pool party on our building, so if she gets tired we can be home in 1 minute. 
I do have to remind myself of those things because I do get distracted and want to get more decoration or order food or bake perfect little cakes. As long we have a cake, family and friends, and a birthday song it will be perfect. 
The garland I am making for decorating the walls. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

We are back

So, we were away for a while visiting family and friends in PA/NY. Here is a photo journal of our last couple weeks. 
Working on our place in Easton, PA
Playing with aunt Becca

Growing up fast

Touching bunny with Mimi

Walking in NYC - Madison Square Park

Turning 11 months old

Hiking with mommy and daddy at Laumeier Sculpture Park, MO

Friday, April 26, 2013

Being busy

What a wonderful time we had this week. We went swimming for the first time at the baby pool. Zoe looked adorable in her one-piece suit and loved walking and floating in the water (but unfortunately I did not take any photos). It was great, because even though she loves her bath time, she was being fussy when I had to wash her hair and water went on her face, so I made sure to walk under the water showers at the pool playground. I think it helped a lot, she is not complaining as much when I rinse her hair.
We had a play date at our friends house and Zoe was crawling over anyone (babies and adults). Well, this baby is not shy people. We went to happy hour at Mizu with daddy and Zoe ate edamame and tofu. I love how she can just eat pretty much whatever we eat now.
Also, yesterday she spent the day with daddy while I went to get my hair done. What a treat!
We can't wait to be really nice outside so we can be busy bees this Summer.
Have a happy weekend!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Beautified blocks DIY

Zoe's toys are a blend of wood blocks or stackables, Teddy's and homemade plush animals, and some plastic cups and shapes. She doesn't have any battery required, music playing, or light flashing toys. It wasn't a conscious decision at first, but we've grown to the idea of more natural toys. I know these toys can't improve my baby's ability to read, write, sing, or become a genius, but it does improve her imagination and creativity and I am happy with that. Plus, I don't have an annoying song playing on the background all the time.
I bought a bag of these wooden blocks at a second hand children store for $7 with about 30-40 blocks. I love how simple they are, but I also love to add some pattern and color for when we build little towns (or I build it just to be destroyed and chewed on by Zoe).
All you need is some wooden blocks, washi tape and scissors. I got my washi tape on Etsy (they are usually $2 or $3 a roll). Tape it and enjoy! :) Easy and pretty!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Zoe - 10 months

Time is flying by and lil' Zoe is 10 months old already. She is so much fun - I think I write this on every post, but oh well, it's true. She just started crawling last week and now it's exploring everything she can put her hands on, that includes pulling every single magazine out of the neatly stacked pile, or pulling the TP roll to rip it apart. She is loving to share her toys and food with mommy and daddy. She's waving bye-bye and she also gives mommy a kiss when asked - her kiss is a wide open mouth touching my cheeks. She loves to climb over mommy and to grab daddy's hair or face. She has tried a lot of new foods including beets, asparagus, and pineapple and is also eating lots of finger foods such as Cheerios, bread, and fruits and veggies. I have been noticing that she started to understand a lot more of what we say (with wanting mom, dad, more, feed, and so on). She is also learning how to play with her toys, trying to stack or squeeze them. It's been amazing to see her developing. This girl, she is my wild.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Oh boy, here we go...

Zo started crawling this week. She is still trying to figure it out, so she will crawl a little then sit, then crawl a little then sit again. She loves her new mobility though. Yesterday we were playing at our friends' house and she was overly excited crawling from one toy to another, pulling herself up on the toy box and on her little friend Al, licking every toy she could manage to get a hold on, laughing and screaming of excitement while her mild friend just sits and observes her. Zoe is also doing a lot of sharing, she will pick something and hand it to us - like a million times. Except yesterday when she was having fun picking toys from Al's hands. Oh boy! Do i see a "future troublemaker alert"? I do try to make her understand that the other kid was playing with that toy, but I think at this stage there isn't a lot to do yet. As Al's mom said "it's better to let them work it out themselves". So, here we go, to a whole new stage of parenting.

Friday, March 1, 2013

On to getting mobile

Little Z is almost there. She's not crawling yet, but she rolls around a lot. Yesterday she pulled herself up on her crib. I had her sitting while I was organizing something next to her. So, oh boy! That means it is time to lower that crib. She doesn't get to the sitting position on her own yet, but I know she will soon. Those little milestones are so exciting!
Yesterday I also had to leave her with daddy for a couple of hours while I went out. When I came back and she saw me, she screamed the loudest scream of excitement she could. That second was one of the best of my life.
Isn't it great to know that you are missed so much that the other person can't contain herself, but scream in joy when she sees you? It's the best.
Her daddy experience that everyday when he gets home from work and it is awesome, but this was a first for me. :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Teething and creeping baby

Poor little girl has been teething. She's usually fine, but once in a while she's bothered by it. She gets cranky and pull on her ears, so sad!

She's also creeping and rolling a lot. Now it is definitely time to baby-proof the place. Another big thing is how much she loves to "talk". She's always babbling her da-da-da and la-la-la. It is so funny, although it is not too cute when it's at 3am.

Valentine's Day

This week was Zo's first valentine and we made a card for daddy with her little thumbprints. I also made one from us to her. I kept thinking while making these how fun that will be when she is older and we can craft together. I can't wait. Well, I guess I can, because I do want to enjoy every single moment of her being this little. Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day.

Ooh February...

Zo is getting a lot more mobile and physically active now, so I usually take her up to the sun room in our building to play there. I also often try to go for walks or to meet with some play groups. Yesterday we went to the City Museum with a moms group. Even though Zo is too little to enjoy all what the museum has to offer, she still loves being in a fun, different place and she loves seeing other kids. We made a hand print - which i forgot there, bummer-, we played with soft blocks, watched fish and turtles swimming, saw the juggler and acrobats show. It was a lot of fun!
Today we went to a walk to the St. Louis Central library and then walked some blocks downtown with a urban walking group. It was freezing, but worth it. I saw my "neighborhood" from a different perspective. Plus the library is a piece of art itself.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's ahead...

When i was pregnant, a friend told me to read as much as possible about breastfeeding, because it would be a very overwhelming task at first. I watched some videos and read a blog here and there and thought I had done my research. However, I didn't feel like I had a set plan. In my head I wasn't sure I could physically do it, but I would like to try it for two reasons: to save money on formula and because I knew it was best for the baby. I thought it would be a natural thing and the baby would just latched like it was supposed to. If I didn't succeed it wasn't the end of the world. My friend was right and I was wrong in two things: first, it is really not that "natural" (in the sense of being easy) and secondly, I did want to succeed. I wanted to have that experience. I already had lacked on the natural birth part, after trying for 17 hours with no epidural or spinal, I had to be put to sleep. I had some minor complications in the end of the pregnancy, so I had to be induced at 37 weeks. Trying for a natural birth was a long shot. It was a little disappointing to not have it naturally but in the end, we were glad that she was here and she was healthy. The staff at the hospital was really helpful. If it weren't for the lactation consultants that came everyday on the last three days I am not sure I would have continued. At that point I wished I had read more about it. I wish I did know that their stomach is the size of a marble and that I didn't need to supplement with formula those first days, but that's what the nurses told me to do, so I did it. We, as first time parents were concerned because they said she lost over 10% of her weight, so we resorted to the bottle formula feeding mixed with the few drops of "liquid gold" we could pump. Another factor was that I had to have the help of a shield - more on that later - plus the terrible engorgement, it was a recipe for quitting the whole BF ordeal. Right after I was released I paid for two lactation visits. It was the best money we have ever spent. They helped me with the engorgement and with the techniques. We both did not have our mothers anymore, we lived away from our families, we didn't have many friends with kids around, so we were in this alone. My husband played a major part during those first weeks. If it wasn't for his support I would have quit easily. Hearing him say I could do it was all what I needed to keep trying. Again, I did not have a set plan of how long we were going to do this. It was a "living each day" kind of thing. Zoe drank exclusively breast milk after a week or two and stop the breast milk bottle after about a month. And then weeks passed, it became a little easier, but not yet smooth sailing, but I kept going. One thing still bothered me, the shield. It was a huge help, but it made it so much more difficult too. It's not like I did bf in public a lot. I did carry a hand pump and bottle to restaurants if I thought it will be hard to feed her, but if I had to bf at a friends house or something it was a pain. I call the lactation 1-800 when Zoe was almost 4 months and they said it was too late. She was too used to the shield, it was going to be a long term thing. A couple weeks later we went away and I prayed that I could get rid of the shield. On the same day I lost it. I was so tempted to just pump and give her a bottle, but I remembered that I had just prayed about it, so I tried to do it without it. She latched. I tried on the next feed and the next and the next. She was 4 1/2 mo and since then we had not used the shield. I can tell that she also prefer this experience. It's a lot less stressful and now IT IS natural and smooth sailing. I have been breast feeding her for all this time, she's 7 1/2 mo and super healthy and now I do plan on keep on going for as long as she wants it. I am so glad I stuck up to it.

Here are some links of timelines that helped me a lot with schedules (I still bf on demand, but follow a basic schedule structure):

  • On breastfeeding:
  • On sleep:

Here are some of my essentials:

  • Instead of buying a bf cover, I just tie these swaddle blankets and put over around my neck. It's easy and makes it one less thing to buy/carry. 
  • Forget those floppy U-shaped bf pillows, this one is all you need and you don't have a baby that keeps sinking in between the pillow and you.
  • I could never remember what side and what time, how many wets and how many soiled, or how lone did she sleep if it wasn't for this app. Cheer for the 21st century! 
  • I love the Eames rocking chair, but I couldn't afford paying $500 on one. Here is a cheaper version that still rock the looks.
  • Burp cloths, you need lots of burp cloths!
  • And a comfy, sporty bra is an essential for the day-to-day, but make sure to buy a cute one too.
  • There might be situations when you need to pump, such as on airplanes, restaurants, or parks. I use this one.

I decided to write this post for the new moms who are trying to breast feed and get some zzz's, so I hope you enjoyed my story. Have a great day!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy 2013 and a new DIY jazz-it-up your baby's clothes

Hi, I hope you all had a great holiday season. We had a great time visiting family in PA. It was a long drive from Missouri, which we did on two segments of 7-8 hours. We stopped in Columbus, OH for the night and got to spend time with friends and eat amazing food like breakfast at Tazi (they have the best sausage and gravy I've ever had and a delicious challah French toast with bananas and maple syrup.. Yumm!), french macaroons and shortbreads from Pistacia Vera, the best veggie burger in town from NorthStar Cafe and let's not forget the Salty Caramel and Sweet potato with roasted marshmallows ice cream from Jeni's. Ok, I'm drooling now. So on to the DIY.
I bought a bunch of white onesies for Zoe and though I could -as I said- jazz-it-up a couple. Also, I had this sweater I bought in a consignment store for a couple bucks, but I wasn't so crazy about the cutesy sheep design.

What you need:

Masking tape
Brush or foam brush
Fabric paint
Pattern hole puncher
Adhesive cardstock
A piece of thick paper

With the tape I made striped. I used a combination of colors and widths. It created a sporty look. Just tape the onesie making your design. Add the piece of thick paper inside the onesie, so the paint doesn't go through the other side and seal the onesie shut when it dries. Paint the area in between the tape - I had my foam brush moist, not wet, to thin out the paint a bit. Let I dry. Do the same with the back. Make sure to touch up the sides too, where the design matches. I would advise it to wash the onesies before dressing your baby, that will also help the fabric paint to feel less stiff.
I also used this technique on the sweater. Then, I used gold paint to cover the sheep design.

Planing stripes

Sweater - before the paint

The other way to add print to your baby's clothes is to use self-adhesive paper and a hole puncher (it can be any design you want, I went for oversized circles and stars). Punch your self-adhesive paper leaving a good amount of space around it so you don't get paint outside your design. Stick to where you want to paint, dab your brush, but don't forget to put a thick paper in between the front and back again. Be careful to not use too much paint or it will seep through. Remove sticky paper and move to another area. Repeat until you feel your design is complete at the front. Let it dry before you do the back. I chose to do my star design on the back of the sleeves but not on the whole back, so it would not overwhelm the onesie. I just add one star near the bottom for fun. On the large dot design I decided to use a iridescent white paint over the white onesie. It is a subtle design that will work with many printed bottoms.

Just a little dot goes a long way - and can you see my paper in between layers? Very helpful little trick.

These adhesive cardstocks are so easy and helpful to use
The finished product.

That's it. Simple and easy. I hope you enjoy and have a happy new year!!!