February 28, 2010

Sunday morning surprise

I can honestly say I've only truly been surprised maybe five times in my life.  I would make a great detective because I'm really good at picking up on things (probably because of my super sonic radar ears), I ask a ton of questions (I'm curious, so what?) and... I'm pretty nosy.  So I'm hard to surprise. 

This morning we went to breakfast at my Dad's house.  When we got there, Melina ("MiMi") was upstairs and I assumed Dad ("PaPa") and Ava ("Aaaaaa") were downstairs.  Dad came upstairs just as we were headed down and I asked if Ava was still downstairs.  Melina told me I should go down and surprise her.  So, Clover and I headed down.  As I rounded the corner in the basement I noticed Ava sitting on the pull out couch bed and couldn't figure out why the bed was out.  Then I realized someone was in the bed with her... about five more steps and I realized it was JON!! I said "holy crap!!" He had flown in the night before to work with my Dad for the week. Probably the 5th time in my life I've ever truly, 100% been surprised and seriously one of my favorite surprises yet!

February 27, 2010

babysitters and blankets

This morning was the first time Clover has ever been away from Dustin or me, besides the time my Mom watched her in the waiting room during my doctor’s appointment. “JuJu” as Clover calls my Mom (pucker your lips like you’re going to kiss and say “Joo Joo”, getting high pitched and excited on the “oo” part – that’s how she says it) watched Clover for about four hours this morning while I went to a sewing class and Dustin ran errands. I know it is weird to some people that this is her first time away from one of us, especially since she will be 16 months old! It’s not that I don’t trust anyone to watch her; we’ve just never really had a time that we felt like we needed a babysitter. Plus, majority of the time, we do things together – the 3 of us. If we go out to eat, Clover comes too (she’s great in restaurants, it comes naturally in our family.) If we need to go shopping, she comes too. Our date nights usually consist of watching a Netflix movie on the couch once she’s gone to bed. To be honest, we would feel lonely and like something was missing if we went somewhere without her. She’s our life. I’m not saying parents who have babysitters don’t love their child as much as we do; I’m just saying that we don’t need that time away from her like others might from their child.

It would be really hard for me to have other people baby sit Clover. For starters, I don’t want to inconvenience them. I know that she will cry, and may possibly struggle with the change, and I don’t want someone else to have to take the burden of comforting my child. That’s my job. I’m her comfort. I know what’s best for her. My personality is a very head-strong, natural leader, dominate one. I like things done a certain way, and have a hard time trusting that someone is going to do it the way that I would. So, I tend to want to just do things myself, that way I know they are done “right”. Clover is my daughter. Dustin and I are the only ones who decide how to raise her. I would rather make sure I am doing it, so I know it’s the way I want it to be done. It has nothing to do with trust in others, it’s that I feel like if I want her raised a certain way then I am the best person for the job. My Mom and I may be very different people, but I know that she knows me well enough to “parent” Clover the way that I do. Even if my Mom doesn’t agree with certain things I do as a parent, she knows the parenting decisions I make are heartfelt and are what I truly think is the best for my child; and she will respect that, no matter what.

Before my Mom put Clover down for a nap today, she gave her Jon’s old bear blanket that Granny O made for him when he was little. Jon loved that blanket. (In fact, I think he had two.) My Mom told her that it was Uncle Jonny’s blanket and showed her the bear on it. When I went to pick her up, she went and picked the blanket up and said “Jon! Jon! Jon! Jon!” She knew it was her Uncle Jonny’s blanket. It was so sweet.

We video-chat with Uncle Jonny on Skype about once a week. She loves talking to him. Before we start the video chat I ask her if she wants to go talk to Uncle Jonny, and she goes into the computer room and tries to get in the desk chair. She squeals with delight and excitement up until the point she sees/hears him. Then she gets shy. After awhile though, she warms up and does her best to impress him. They give kisses to each other on the computer screen and she blows lots of kisses signaling “I love you”! Somehow I inadvertently taught her that the sign for “I love you” is a kissing sound or blowing a kiss. I guess because every time I said “I love you” I would blow a kiss after… oops. It’s pretty cute though when I rock her to sleep and say “I love you” and she turns her head up to kiss me. Oh she makes my heart melt. See, why would I need time away from that?

February 26, 2010

Hang up and drive!

Most of us know the dangers of using our cell phone while driving, yet a lot of us still continue to do it. Myself included. I justify it by saying that I know where the letters on the phone are without looking, or that I only use it at red lights... Well, I'll be honest - I'm lying. I text and drive, talk and drive, even look at facebook and drive. Yes, I'm careful, but not careful enough. It's kind-of like sex, the safest protection is abstinence. I am taking the "hang up and drive challenge" and am encouraging others to do so too!

There was an interesting study that asked, "Is having a cell phone pressed to your ear while behind the wheel the equivalent of driving while intoxicated?" The study found that the answer was YES. Isn't that scary? Another article states "there are 270 million cell phone users in the U.S. and 80 percent of them talk on the phone while driving."

Here is a very graphic, but real, video of what can happen when you text and drive.

Take the challenge with me?

February 25, 2010

Just a couple...

I have a couple random things I would like to share!

First, BabyLegs is having a HUGE sale + FREE SHIPPING! I love, love, love babylegs! They're great for little knees when your baby is crawling. They're also great for your little ones to just wear around the house. We also use them as an extra layer, when it's cold out, that is easy to take off if they start to get hot! Plus, for girls, they're super cute under skirts, dresses and shorts! Plus, they make great presents!! No, I don't work for the company, I just honestly like them that much!

Here are a couple of pics of Clover sportin' her babylegs:

and you can't tell, but she's wearing an organic wool pair under her pants in this picture:

Second, is a product review. I bought Electrasol Finish Powerball Tabs by accident and do NOT like them. It leaves a white film and white spots on some of the dishes - something that has never happened before.

Here is some proof:

The Electrasol gel pacs work really well, and we will make sure to use those from now on!

February 23, 2010

Just a billboard.

Remember how my brother went to Vegas? About three weeks ago.

He designed a billboard. A BILLBOARD!

Jon's Web site
Sexy Fly Fashion
Bikinis and Martinis

February 22, 2010

Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can

For lack of a better blog topic, I thought I might share some of my “ditsy” moments because if you can’t laugh at yourself, then what’s the point?

“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.” Elsa Maxwell

One weekend home, when I was in college, my Mom and I decided to order pizza from Mellow Mushroom for dinner. I went to go pick it up. Before I went inside, I was trying to decide what I needed to bring in, and decided just to bring my wallet. I figured it would be okay to leave my cell phone in the car because I would only be inside for a few minutes (and the chance that I would come back to find 10 missed calls was slim). So, I locked the car and went inside. When I got back to the car with our pizza, and tried to unlock the door, I was confused by why the key wasn’t turning in the lock. Then, I realized the car was unlocked. So I shrugged it off and got in the car. I put the pizza on the passenger seat and went to see how many missed calls I had. I couldn’t find my cell phone. I decided that I must have actually brought it inside with me (even though I knew I left it in the car) and went to see if I left it in the restaurant. Of course it wasn’t in there. On the way back out to the car (and feeling a little bit like I was on a hidden camera show) I started to realize that there were two green Honda’s parked next to each other… I then realized there was a man walking out behind me…As we neared the cars, he went towards the car I thought was mine and I became aware that mine was actually the one next to his! The worst part was my pizza was still inside his car! I slowly and awkwardly said to the man “I’m really sorry, but I thought your car was mine, and my pizza is in your car” Personally, I would have laughed if someone said that to me, but nope, without a word, he opened the door, let me get my pizza out, then got in and drove away.

Another time, my brother and I were driving around and we saw a “SALE” sign on a house. To which I exclaimed (in my best Grandma Alman, are you stupid voice?) “How can a house be ON SALE?” Then I realized what I said. I was imagining a sale like in a store; 50% off.

Last New Years Eve, while Dustin and I were watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, I turned to Dustin with as much attitude as I could muster and said “What is wrong with that guy??” thinking he was really drunk or something. Dustin looked at me like I was stupid and said “he had a stroke.” Wow, I’m a jerk. Honestly though, I really didn’t know it was Dick Clark and I really didn’t know he had a stroke. I just thought it was some drunk guy counting down to the New Year and couldn’t figure out how that was appropriate for tv!

What are your embarrassing, ditsy moments?

February 17, 2010

Just to clarify

I want to add a little bit to my breastfeeding post the other day. First off, I’m not against formula. Sometimes it is completely necessary, and thank goodness there are formulas out there that have tons of nutrients and vitamins. My cousin, Rachel, brought up a great point to me. Breast milk is natural. It is what our bodies produce to feed and nourish our babies. If that wasn’t the point of it, we wouldn’t have it. If we were supposed to stop breast feeding when the baby reached a certain age, our milk would stop. For some reason, somewhere along the way, people started rumoring that breastfeeding was “gross”, or “unnatural”. It’s weird when a baby asks for breast milk, but not when they ask for a bottle with formula
in it. I’ve talked to so many woman that did not breastfeed simply because their Mom didn’t (nevermind the reasons behind why their Mom didn’t).

The thing that bothers me about the breast milk vs. formula debate is that no one is advertising for the boobs. Instead, formula companies are capitalizing on parent’s desire to do the best for the children by manipulating them into thinking that formula is the best thing for their child. The title of an Enfagrow ad in Parenting magazine says “The nutritional building blocks he needs now.” NEEDS NOW. Does he? Enfagrow is basically a formula for older children with “over 25 nutrients for Healthy Growth, Omega3 DHA & iron for Brain Development and Antioxidants to support the Immune System”. Well, who wouldn’t want that for their children? What parents don’t realize is that breast milk has that AND MORE! If you saw an ad that said “Help reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%!” or “Want to decrease the risk of childhood leukemia while at the same time reducing your chance for ovarian or breast cancer?” – trust me, you would want it whatever they were selling.

February 14, 2010

Prescription for Breast Milk

In last week’s episode of House M.D. there was a man with cancer who came in and wanted a prescription for breast milk. He had researched how breast milk contains cancer fighting compounds and felt like it could cure his cancer. As a breastfeeding mother, I feel like breastfeeding is not as popular and accepted as it should be (and maybe once was). Doctors, nurses, magazines and even TV tend to focus so much on formula and bottle feeding. Every time Clover has had a well visit at her doctor’s office, I have had to make a point to tell them that she was exclusively breast fed (and still nurses twice a day) because they just assumed she was not. Even though they know how much better breastfeeding is, I think they have grown accustom to having patients who aren’t breastfed. I was really encouraged by even the mention of breast milk, and its cancer fighting substances, in the House episode. Not only were they drawing much needed attention to breast milk, but they were also promoting some of the wonderful benefits it has!

I really never thought I would be such a breastfeeding advocate, until I became a mother. When you have a child, there is nothing you won’t do to protect your child. I felt like breast milk versus formula was pretty much a no-brainer. There are an astounding number of reasons why breastfeeding is better for your baby. Breastfeeding alone can reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%! We spend hundreds of dollars childproofing our homes, buying the safest car seats, buying medicine, diaper rash ointment, etc. – all to “protect” our children and help “prevent” bad things from happening. So many people are willing to spend top dollar on ways to protect their children, but cringe at the thought of breastfeeding – the ultimate protection.

Breastfeeding can be hard. Besides doing “wonderful” things to your boobs, it can also be difficult to schedule things around nursing. Sometimes it’s harder to feed your baby in public because you can’t just pull out a bottle and pop it into their mouth. People judge you when you breastfeed, especially for longer then six months (remember how much I like being judged?) It’s harder to have someone else watch your baby. You can’t have your partner help with the feedings in the middle of the night (unless you pump). And sometimes, you end up being a human pacifier when your child needs some extra special attention. But the benefits? Yes, they outweigh the bad by 100%. I will take the nasty “why don’t you just feed her formula so we all don’t have to sit here and watch you nurse her?” remarks because I know I am doing the best thing for my daughter.

In true persuasion form, I will give you a few benefits that you may, or may not know:

1. It strengthens the infant's immune system and provides protection against a variety of diseases and infections, including the common cold, ear infections, diarrhea, bacterial meningitis, and allergies.

2. Breastmilk provides a variety of immunological and psychological benefits to the child, both in the short and long term. These include a decreased risk of childhood cancer in children nursed more than six months, (see? There is a reason I am still nursing my 15 month old!) and a lower risk of conditions such as heart disease, multiple sclerosis, respiratory infection, and juvenile insulin-dependent diabetes.

3. Breastfeeding also provides many health benefits to the mother-including a significantly lowered risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as a decreased risk of osteoporosis in later life.

4. Breastfeeding can protect your baby from developing allergies.

5. Breastfeeding may boost your child's intelligence

6. Breastfeeding may protect against obesity later in life

7. Breastfeeding may protect your baby from childhood leukemia

8. Breastfeeding for more than six months appears to reduce a child's risk of developing insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes.

9. Breastfeeding helps you shed your baby weight and helps you heal from giving birth.

10. Breastfeeding is good for every part of baby's body--from the brain to the diaper area. Here's a list:

• Brain. Higher IQ in breastfed children. Cholesterol and other types of fat in human milk support the growth of nerve tissue.

• Eyes. Visual acuity is higher in babies fed human milk.

• Ears. Breastfed babies get fewer ear infections.

• Mouth. Less need for orthodontics in children breastfed more than a year. Improved muscle development of face from suckling at the breast. Subtle changes in the taste of human milk prepare babies to accept a variety of solid foods.

• Throat. Children who are breastfed are less likely to require tonsillectomies.

• Respiratory system. Evidence shows that breastfed babies have fewer and less severe upper respiratory infections, less wheezing, less pneumonia and less influenza.

• Heart and circulatory system. Evidence suggests that breastfed children may have lower cholesterol as adults. Heart rates are lower in breastfed infants.

• Digestive system. Less diarrhea, fewer gastrointestinal infections in babies who are breastfeeding. Six months or more of exclusive breastfeeding reduces risk of food allergies. Also, less risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in adulthood.

• Immune system. Breastfed babies respond better to vaccinations. Human milk helps to mature baby's own immune system. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of childhood cancer.

• Endocrine system. Reduced risk of getting diabetes.

• Kidneys. With less salt and less protein, human milk is easier on a baby's kidneys.

• Appendix. Children with acute appendicitis are less likely to have been breastfed.

• Urinary tract. Fewer infections in breastfed infants.

• Joints and muscles. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is less common in children who were breastfed.

• Skin. Less allergic eczema in breastfed infants.

• Growth. Breastfed babies are leaner at one year of age and less likely to be obese later in life.

• Bowels. Less constipation. Stools of breastfed babies have a less-offensive odor.

February 13, 2010

Love, Clover

Happy Valentine's Day 2010
 Becca, at The Stanley Clan, introduced me to this awesome blog I Heart Faces where they gave us a free Valentine and included a tutorial on how to mask in an image!  

Please join our FREE Photography Social Community! Show off your photos, meet other I Heart Faces fans, and discuss anything photography related.

February 10, 2010

beezwax love contest

My good friend, Megan D. of The Other Megan Photography is doing a contest in honor of Valentine's Day called "Real Love"! I just LOVE their photography work and couldn't pass up the opportunity for a free session! If you live in the Atlanta area, I would recommend visiting their blog contest and entering! They also have a fan page on facebook. Here are some of my favorite pictures The Other Megan Photography has taken:

I'm pretty sure I could add every picture I have by the two Megan's becuase I love their work that much! In fact, all the pictures on my blog header are by The Other Megan Photography!

Anyway, enough bragging! Back to the contest! The contest is to "Submit your photo of what “real love” is to YOU. It can be anything that you feel shows “real love” through your eyes."

My photo is one I took on our past trip to Arkansas about a month ago. It is a picture of Clover and her 96 year old Great Grandma Daugherty. I love the way she is holding her face! This is real, pure love to me!

February 08, 2010

Vegas stole my brother

A lot of people have siblings. Sometimes they are close with their siblings. My sibling, my brother, is so much more then a brother to me. Most don’t understand our relationship. My brother is my best friend, my parent, my biggest advocate and my biggest cynic. He’s the one person who could slap me in the face and tell me my idea is stupid, and I would actually listen. I value others opinions, but my brother’s approval is the one I need to make a decision. We fight each other’s battles, we encourage each other, we parent each other and we love each other. In a life that held some unpredictable occurrences, my brother has been the true constant through out. I have a few best girl friends, but my brother was the one I needed by my side when I got married.

From the time Jon was born we have had a special relationship. My Mom wrote in his baby book that even as a baby, whenever I cried Jon was very concerned. She also wrote how much I loved my baby brother. I’ve asked my Mom what she did to encourage our relationship as we were growing up. She said we always had to share. One of us wasn’t allowed to have something unless we shared it. We also relied a lot on each other for amusement. We didn’t watch a lot of tv and didn’t have video games when we were little, so we were forced to play games with each other. Even to this day, if you were to sit us in a room with nothing to do, we would probably get a good game of “I’m thinking” going. We share so many inside jokes and stories that half the time no one else in the room knows what we are talking about. I’m also pretty sure I’m the one person that will laugh at every single one of his jokes – even if they’re not that funny.

Our relationship has often been difficult on those we’ve dated. I can’t imagine dating someone whose sister was his best friend. Or dating someone knowing that almost every aspect of our relationship was going to be discussed with their sibling. Lucky for me, Dustin knows how much I love and respect him, but has also accepted the fact that I’m usually going to go to my brother for the really tough decisions.

This time last week, Jon was on his way to Las Vegas. To live. I’m so proud of him and who he has become. In a sense, it’s like being proud of your child because I know that I helped Jon become who he is today – a very mature, capable, driven, ambitious, intelligent, creative, caring and loving brother. I’m going to miss him more then words can express. Most of all, I’m going to miss how excited Clover gets when she knows we’re going to see him.