The Jacksonville Zoo

I love lemon icecream!  There is just something about its creamy tartness that brings such joy to my tongue and tummy.  The fact that I happen to be consuming lemon icecream at this moment, may or may not have anything to do with my current thoughts on this subject, but, there you go. Mmmmm….
On Wednesday Aurora and I went to the Jacksonville Zoo!! 
What a blast!  Since the car is currently in the shop, we took the bus and had ourselves a nice little adventure. On the bus we met a girl who works for the Zoo and she happily told us about all the neat stuff we could do there, how to get there, how to get home and even walked with us to show us the way, once we got off the bus.  What a nice person.  We met up with our new Jacksonville playfriend and his momma.  They were also very excited to be at the zoo.  The day was a beautiful 80 degrees, sunny with a light wind.  It was delightful. 
The first animal we saw was the baby leopard, he is 7 months old (almost the same age as Aurora!!) and weighed in at 44lbs (not almost the same weight as Aurora). 
Then we walked the boardwalk trail and saw white rhinos, storks, a warthog and a few other animals. 
We made it to the train just in time to catch a ride and see the entire zoo from the comfort of a seat. 

During the train ride we saw Zebras!! Did you know that Zebras are in fact Black with White stripes and their stripe pattern is as unique to them as our fingerprints are to us??  Cool huh? 
Then we saw the giraffe family with their newest addition born on christmas eve.  After the Giraffe’s we saw their herd of African elephants ladies, there were 3 of them on the paddock.  Did you know that you can tell they are from Africa because their ear shape looks like the African continent, its true!  Eventually we made it to the Asian gardens and went to the DINO ALIVE exhibit. 
Then it was time to take a quick break and head over to feed the Lorikeets.  Since the kiddos were both sleeping, our play friends momma offered to watch the kids, while I went in to feed the birds.  It was really neat!  You buy a cup of nectar and then hold it out and the birds land on your shoulder, arm, wrist or hand and drink from the cup.  Following that we headed off to pet the dwarf goats,
Aurora really got a kick out of that, and we checked out their little water park.  From there we headed over to get our carousel ride on a stationary Giraffe.  It was Aurora’s first time on a carousel and she totally loved it! 
Pretty neat-o!  A quick look at the time and we realized the day had really flown by.  So we booked it over to the Great Apes exihibit and saw the silver back boys snoozin’ in the sun, as well as the Bonobos and Chimpanzes.  Finally we made our way out of the park, parted ways and Aurora and I took our 2 hours bus ride home. Man was I happy to see J and be off the bus!  What a fabulous day!

New stuff, Cloth Diapers & BM Pops

Aurora made it past her 5 month mark a couple weeks ago, it’s hard to believe that we’ve had her in our arms for almost half of a year!!  Everyday she seems to get bigger, more aware of herself and her surroundings, stronger and…as if it was even possible, more chattery.  She loves to chatter, to us, to herself to inanimate objects.  This is probably the cutest thing to watch really. 
 So, since I have no idea what she is saying most of the time, I decided to look into BSL (Baby Sign Language).  I did a few minutes worth of research and found a few free sites that offer a ton of help on basic signs, how to go about the process…yahdah yahdah yahdah.  We started signing to her about 2 days ago (though we have been singing/signing the alphabet to her for a few weeks now (and she loves it!), and she seems to be pretty interested in what our hands are doing.  Most of the “experts” indicate that you can start signing to your infant (and she will be paying attention sorta) at around 6 months, though she may not have the coordination to sign back to you until about 8-10 months.  They do say it’s good to start early so that Baby can understand that signing is an acceptable form of communication, since she won’t really be able to speak until quite some time.  It is becoming a really popular thing with parents too, apparently.  And you know HOW MUCH we LOVE popular (hahahhha, rolling eyes).  But the best part is that teaching your child to sign helps them learn to speak quicker and helps them build connectors in their brains (yep I said brains, I just felt like ya needed a fun word, so there, I’ll say it again…Brains!)  I also went out and bought a book called “100 First Words” and have begun teaching J the signs in the book, so he can sign to Aurora also.  We’ve learned the signs for the all the pictures/words on the cover and the first page.  Now on to the rest!  Its really fun and gives us something fun to do with Aurora!!
Some of you may know that in the beginning we were all gung-ho about cloth diapering, I even went as far as making 3 diaper covers, etc.  Well once I started “winter traveling” that kind of fell by the way side.  Plus she grew out of the covers (apparently that happens) and since I don’t have access to a sewing maching, I just started using, Yikes!!, disposables, then I just got lazy and gave up on cloth for a bit.  Well I decided, after getting part of my tax return, to go shopping yesterday for a few “baby” things that I’ve been meaning to look for and purchase.  I headed over to the local TRU/BRU (toys r us, babies r us) and started perusing their baby aisles.  To my excitement and surprise, I found baby waterproof underpants!!  The pull on kind.  I have been looking for them everywhere, not very religiously of course.  But was so happy to finally have found them AND in a variety of sizes!!  So of course, since I have NOT seen them ANYWHERE else, I bought a pack of each size from 6-9mos up to 2T (6/9, 12m, 18m, 2T).  Each pack came with three.  Since they are waterproof, I can just rinse one off and hang dry it, while using another.  I started using them yesterday and this morning, she pooped, and they totally worked!!  I just rinsed it out, used a bit of soap around the leg bands and Voila!  Then I hung it under the fan to dry.  So that is a success and we are on the cloth band wagon again.
After perusing the aisles of BRU, I also found these nifty little gadgets that look like popsicle holders, they are Safety Feeders.  Basically a popsicle ring on the bottom, that baby holds onto, then a mesh bag attaches to that!  You can then place food items inside the mesh and baby chews on it.  They are pretty neat.  Since we are keeping Aurora as an EBM (exclusive breast milk) baby for the time being, it was just a buy for later.  I did test it out with some grapes yesterday, just to see what she would do and she totally loved it.  Anyhoo!!
Pop Instructions
Lastly, since I doing EBM with Aurora, I thought of giving her a little treat, aside from the boobies.  I expressed some BM (breast milk) into a bottle and poured it into a little ramkin.  Then stuck a pacifier down into the cup, and placed it in the freezer.  A few hours later, I took it out, popped the pacifier out of the cup, attached to the frozen BM. WOW!! BM pops!!  I took it out to Aurora who was enjoying her bouncy chair and handed  it to her, she immediately stuck it in her mouth (like most things she gets in her grabbers) and had a perplexed look on her face, she took it out, looked at it, and stuck it back in her mouth. She repeated this process, as one eye started tearing up from the cold, and then went to town trying to eat the popsicle.  Continuing to look thoroughly confused, but happy, she started bouncing again and sucking/chomping on her BM pop.  At one point, bad momma, I thought she was finished with it.  So I picked it up off of the tray, to take it inside, she looked at me and reached toward me and burst into tears, so I brought it back, and she resumed her happy suck/chomp, until it had been semi consumed, but totally melted.  What a happy baby!!

4 Months Old!!

Today Aurora is 4 months old!  The things she knows and can do is astounding.  Everyday she seems to become more aware of herself and her surroundings.  She is working on crawling, rolling over, sitting up and talking.  She can “scoot” across the bed on her tummy using her knees.  She can hold her head up and turn it from side to side while laying on her tummy.  She loves to follow Momma & Poppa around with her head and eyes when she is being held by someone else.  It is soooo amazing seeing this little person develop more and more.  I  can hardly believe that I really grew this little creature inside me!! Super cutieroo!!

Sickness & The Infanta

Sicknesses are the worst!!  Aurora caught a cold from someone this week, I think it happened when we had some visitors over.  But she’s been sick since Thursdayish, the poor little girl.  I mean, I think we got pretty lucky with our little one.  She doesn’t complain really and seems in generally good spirits. But its still pretty awful seeing her ill.  Coughing her brains out and stuffy nose and then runny nose and mucus all over the place and just feeling generally yuck-o. Then you have to make decisions about it. Do you get a little sucker for her nose or just let her deal with the mucus in her own way?  Should you sit her up more in her crib so she can breathe easier? Or does that really help?  How often should she eat? Should you wake her up to feed her every few hours?  Should you read things about other babies with illnesses?  The list goes on and on.  It’s a good thing I have J around to help reign me in on going overboard.  His approach? Keep it simple.  Feed her when she’s hungry, let her sleep, keep her dry and safe, and keep her temperature even and her body will take care of the rest.  But it’s so hard to not worry anyway…

The “Parenting” Complex

As most of you know, I recently gave birth to a little girl in October.  Being a parent has become one of the most rewarding and difficult jobs I have ever had.  There are so many different things I have to decide.  What kind of diapers to use. Should I put her on a sleep schedule.  Am I spoiling her by holding her a bunch? What are safe toys for her to play with? Should I let people hold her? How do I help her stay healthy? Breastfeed or Formula?  And the list goes on and on.  Each time I make a decision that affects her, I have to think to myself “How will this affect her later on in life?” and then I have to hope that I am just making the right decision and move on to the next onslaught of options from which choose.  This is what it is like to be a parent, for those of you who don’t already know.  With all that being said I have decided that I want to be one of the “informed” parents.  I want to be able to make good decisions by knowing all the information on each particular option.  That way, in the future when my daughter comes back to me and confronts me on why I did the things I did.  I can feel happy knowing I did the best I could, and that’s all we can really do anyway right?  So I am going to start making videos or blogs relating to all the options I am confronted with on a daily, weekly or monthly basis as I see fit.  I will pass all the information I find along to you and hopefully this will make for a happier parent/child experience for everyone.  Or at the very least justify why they become so crazy later on in life right?

The Baby Baker – Easy Dough Recipe

Ingredients

Makes 1 1/2 pounds dough.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/3 cups lukewarm water (about 105 degrees)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

4 cups bread flour, plus more if necessary

Directions

1.In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment, combine yeast, sugar, and water, and stir to blend. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in oil and salt.

2.Add flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until most of the flour has been absorbed, and the dough forms a ball. Continue to mix at the lowest speed until soft and satiny but still firm, 4 to 5 minutes. Add additional flour, if necessary, to keep the dough from sticking. The dough will be quite soft.

3.Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. Let the dough rise in the refrigerator until doubled or tripled in bulk, 8 to 12 hours. The dough can be kept for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Simply punch down the dough as it doubles or triples.

3 Months Old!!

So I finally made it to three months!! How exciting.
Aurora is doing great!  She loves being in her stationary jumper and bouncing herself around.  She is reaching and grabing onto things with more strength too!  She is now 2 feet tall and weighs just over 13lbs. She loves to “talk” to me all the time and has such a big beautiful smile and laugh, it makes me smile everytime I look at her.  This past month she has been visiting with her grandparents, aunts and uncles in Wisconsin, where my dad lives.  It is so amazing to me that everyday she seems to be so much different from the day before.  She is able to turn her head smoothly and looks for sounds when she hears them.  She responds with a smile and laugh when you talk to her and play with her.  I am so exciting watching her grow and learn.  Children are truly an amazing thing!

“Bum Cadillac” Diaper Covers are here!!

After spending countless hours online searching for prefold diaper covers that are cute, functional and easy to maintain…. I gave up!  I then headed to JoAnn’s and decided I was just going to make my own.  I picked out some fancy flannel, a light pink PUL waterproof material, pink terry cloth and some black leotard (moisture wicking fabric).  A few minutes of searching in the pattern department and I was set!  The first one took a bit longer than it should have since I had to alter some things that the pattern wanted you to do and was getting the hang of how to best work with my chosen fabrics.  But in the end I came up with some fabulousness that cannot be found elsewhere!  To get some of your own, let me know by selecting the donate button on the side.  Suggested donation amount is $25 U.S. or $30 everywhere else.   Let me know the weight of the baby, gender and closure style (snaps or velcro) and I’ll take care of the rest!  These make wonderful baby gifts!  They can be used over cloth (prefolds) or disposable diapers too!!  If you have any questions, just let me know. 

Life with the Little One…

The first week at the dome has gone by in a flash!  It has been almost 3 weeks since our little one was born, I can hardly believe it!  She is adjusting to life in her new home really well so far and we are getting acclimated to her schedule pretty quickly.  It was a rough first few days for me with breastfeeding, since I had no idea how long she should be feeding, etc.  I ended up being VERY sore for a few days, but all is spiffy now for the most part.  Becoming a mom is the coolest and best thing ever.  I won’t say its all fluffy candy tasties, but the good definitely outways the yucky and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.   She’s sleeping well, eating like a pig, growing like a weed, filling her diapers to the brim and keeping me up at 1am for a few hours just to prove she can, I think.  All in all though, as I mentioned before, it’s definitely and amazing experience and I am super glad we decided to start this adventure.  Well duty calls as another minute will put her into fits of hysteria if she doesn’t “get boobies now!”  Hope you’re having a great week too!

Woosh has Arrived!!

Aurora Jayde
aka
Woosh
Date of Birth: Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Time of Birth: 8:30 a.m.
Original Due Date: Monday, October 18, 2010
Weeks Pregnant: 39 weeks, 1 day
Weight: 7lbs Height: 19 inches Head Size: 13 3/4 inches

Aurora’s Birth Story:

Since Aurora was a breech baby, head up in right rib and bum in my pelvic bone area, she was scheduled to be delivered via cesarean birth on Wednesday, October 13, 2010. However, she wanted to pick her own birthday and decided to grace us with her presence the day before. We did not know the sex of our baby until the doctor pulled her out of me.

On Monday, October 11, 2010 Jaimie and I went in for our pre-op appointment at 10am. This was when we met the “assisting” surgeon for the first time and were able to ask all of our questions, get labwork done and met with the operations nurse to fill out all the important information, for our scheduled cesarean birth Wednesday morning at 8am. While the doctor checked to confirm baby was still breech, he commented that he could not tell because I was having a mild contraction at that moment. I was confident baby had not turned though, since I knew what her head felt like. The OB did not seem concerned about the contraction and we left the appointment excited for wednesday. Later on that day I felt a few more mild contractions, but they were about 30 mins to an hour apart and did not seem very consistent. I did think in the back of my mind that the chances I would make it to Wednesday were slim, but I didn’t concern myself with it since I felt fine. Jaimie and I got home from all of our errands that day, planning to finish packing the car and cleaning up a bit more at the house the following day (Tuesday) in preparation for going to the hospital for the scheduled birth. We had dinner and went to bed very early, which is out of character for us since we stay up pretty late typically, at 8:30pm. I woke up several times that night needing to pee and feeling rather “gassy” but not thinking anything of it. The final time I woke up, about 5:15 am, I felt mild “menstrual” type cramping in my lower abdominal area and decided to get up and try going to the bathroom again. I climbed out of bed, started across the rug to the bathroom and my water broke in a gush onto the rug, I quickly go to the toilet and the rest started coming out!! I called upstairs to Jaimie, saying “My water broke” and he immediately jumped out of bed and for about 1 minutes seemed to be running around all crazy style, since he was dead asleep. I told him I needed him to calm down and get a few things and he snapped out of it and was calm and collected. I also told him to get my phone and dial the birthing center, so we could tell them we were on our way, so that they could call the surgeon and get ready to receive us. We finished packing up the few items we needed to take with us for the next day and headed down the hill to the truck. I was still leaking quite a bit and since I didn’t have any pads (not that they would have helped at this point) I had Jaimie cut up and old towel and I made a make shift soaker, hoping it would get me to the birthing center relatively dry. On the way I called all of the parents and my youngest sister to tell them we were on our way since my water broke. They were very excited! We made it to the birthing center by 6:30 am and were greeted by my favorite nurse!! She told me later she had called to find out the status of things that morning, upon hearing that I was coming in, she decided to come in early so that she could attend my surgery!! I was so happy. She immediately wisked us off to our room, the one I would have chose myself had I been given the choice!!, and started getting me ready for surgery. I was undressed, redressed in a gown, placed on the monitor and set up with an IV lock. My midwife came in to tell me she would not be able to attend since they had 5 other births in progress!! I told her that was fine, since my favorite nurse would be there. Once all the downstairs prep was finished Anne (my nurse) came in to tell another cesarean birth just walked in also and we may have to go second. We said that was fine, since my contractions were very slow still. A few minutes later we got good news though! Since we were already prepped and all of our paperwork and labs had been completed, and since I had not eaten since early dinner the night before (5:30pm) that we could go first! At that point I also found out that the assisting surgeon would actually be my attending!! I was also very excited about that, since both of us really liked him when we had met him the day before. At this point I was given the option of walking up to surgery or being bed driven, I chose walking. So the three of us (Nurse Anne, Jaimie and I) headed up to the operating room. I was greeted by my spinal and surgery assistant Gretchen and Jamie and walked over to Op Room 1 to do the upstairs prep. Jaimie had to stay with Anne during this process and could not come in until the curtain was up just prior to the surgery beginning. I was starting to shake a bunch because it was cold and they placed warmed blankets all around me. I sat down on the operating bed with Gretchen holding my shoulders and telling me to stay very still and focus on her and breathing slow. I did and Anthony began the spinal, he had explained to be earlier what the process was, so I was prepared. I felt a very slight pinch in my back and then a VERY uncomfortable pressure when the medication was pushed through my spinal. Then they laid me on the bed and my legs started getting numb almost instantly. It was the weirdest sensation! Everytime someone would touch them, tingles would go through my skin. Finally I was completely numb from the breastbone down. They placed leg massagers on my legs to help with circulation and finished all the surgery prep. I started feeling nauseated and mentioned it, Anthony said its the medication and he reduced the amount and gave me an anti-nausea med in my iv. I told them I was going to be sick and Joyce, my comforting nurse grabbed a little bucket for me. I turned my head to the side and was sick for a moment. It was quick and just fluid. They placed an oxygen mask over my face to ensure baby was getting enough. It felt very cool in temp and clean. They put the curtain up and Jaimie was escorted in with Anne, both were all dressed in blue surgery suits. Jaimie was instructed not to touch anything blue and had a stool right next to me so he could hold my hand. I suddenly got overwhelmed and burst into tears. Jaimie comforted me and gently reminded me to relax and breath. I asked that the sex of the baby not be said outloud, that I wanted to discover it. Surgery began. I felt a lot of tugging and pulliing, but no pain. I asked Jaimie to tell me what was going on. He did. Then the baby was pulled out! I asked Jaimie “is his skin blue or purple?” (referring to baby generically) and Jaimie hesitated.. then he said “Well its kind of hard to say, because SHE is a little bit purple.” I said “OH! its a girl!” and burst in to tears from being so happy. The Dr. put her over the screen for a second genitalia facing me and said “I think this is the end you wanted to see?” and we all chuckled. Then she was given to Anne and placed in the warmer. Anne asked if Jaimie wanted to cut the cord and he did. Anne asked me if She could take Aurora down to be cleaned up, weighed, measured and tested with Jaimie, so that she could meet me in recovery and I said yes. They left the room and I continued to be stitched up. They finished and I thanked everyone for doing an amazing job and they all smiled and gretchen wheeled me out to the recovery room. Once in recovery I was examined and the nurses offered to clean me up a bit. I was grateful. They chatted with me while we waited for Anne to come up with Aurora and Jaimie. I also had to wait until I could move my legs before being wheeled down to my room. Within minutes Anne came in with Aurora and Jaimie and she offered to start her on my breast since she seemed very hungry. She was latched on immediately and eating happily. All went well over the next few days at the birthing center and we spent a week finishing my recovery at a friends house in Burlington. Aurora is beautiful and we both find ourselves falling more in love with her as the days go by.