Friday, April 8, 2016

Get Me Out of Here!

I'm going a bit stir crazy this week, and have what might be considered cabin fever. I haven't been out for a walk (with Daniel) in a week, and I'm missing the wonderful weather we had. I mistakenly said to Tom 'we can put away the heaters, it's springtime!" And then this week happened and I haven't heard the end of it.
What have I done to stay occupied (and keep my mind off the cold rainy weather outside?

-Mended our spare comforter, which had ripped open on one corner.
-Taken an inventory of all the food in our kitchen.
-Organized our entire kitchen.
-Updated Rosetta Stone and started lessons again.Well, okay. One lesson... four days ago.

All these things because otherwise I'm just sitting indoors, looking outside. And I really want to get outside again.

So tell me...
Where do you live?
How about you?
What do you do to keep occupied?

Here's what I wrote for the letter "G" in 2014:
Goals in Blogging
I'm just starting to tell people that I blog, and I know that for most people it's kind of something you raise your eyebrows at... Click the link to read the rest...
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Finding the Time

Really.... do any of you know where it is?  I'm serious, have you seen it anywhere?

Here's what I wrote for the letter "F" in 2014:
When Tom and I were dating for about 2 months, he asked his parents if his girlfriend from Pennsylvania could come for a visit and stay over the New Years 2010 weekend.

Up to that point heard about a girl who their son met online. But never caught her name every-time it was mentioned. So they asked, "what's her name?" and Tom said "Farin". And then they said this gem "Oh, like Farina?"  Click the link to read the rest...
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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Exercises for Babies!

One thing that I enjoy (and Daniel loves!) is the baby exercises we do every day. These are some simple moves that have a few different benefits. They calm a potentially fussy baby, relieve some gas, strengthen his neck, leg and arm musciles and aim to teach him to roll, crawl and balance. Plus, he absolutely loves them!

Leg Strength and Gas Relief
RunRunRun! (or Bicycle).
This is usually where we start, especially if he's being fussy and we want to make him smile. Taking an ankle in each hand, we help him "run". He might keep his legs locked at first, so you can lift tap his knees and they will usually bend. Then "runrunrun!" 

Eat Your Toes
It's exactly what it sounds like. After running, we bring his legs together and by the calves guide his feet to his mouth. Babies are so flexible, so this is something that he'll do on his own eventually anyway. But, in addition to giving him a bit of exercise, it is Very Effective at producing a toot. And, when you get a toot every time you bring his feet up to his mouth, it's quite hilarious.

With his feet back down on the bed, tap the bottoms and make him kick or stomp up and down on your hands. This is another crowd pleaser, as he loves it and smiles like crazy, which pleases us to no end. 

Sitting Up
Honestly, these are sit ups. You hold his hands in your hands, and help slowly pull himself up into a sitting position. You can either hold it for a few seconds, do a few more sit-ups the same way... or have him try his hand at balancing himself. You will likely have to help him balance by holding his hands, but we've found that he's gotten increasingly better at holding his frame by himself for a few seconds to a half minute.  

Rolling and Crawling
-I don't know if this is common, but our son has very strong legs but hasn't even attempted to roll yet. He outright hates tummytime, but that's mostly our fault because we didn't want to anger him more during the colic days and ignored it for a spell. But, the next exercise kind of tricks him onto his tummy, and helps him learn how to crawl and propel himself forward.

While on his back, take each forearm in your hands and act as though he is in a boxing match. Gently doing this will help him roll back and forth along his back, and at a certain point you take one arm and roll him over, keeping his arms up in front of his head (so he is now in the crawling position).
At this point, if he isn't like ours and hasn't figured out that he is on his tummy against his will, you put his hands up in front of his face, and then put your hands behind his tucked in legs. Encourage him to push against your hands by tapping the bottoms of his feet. He should push them out, and therefore propel himself forward. 
Whatever you do, be sure you are gentle and err or the side of caution. 
Take the exercises slow and the strengths and weaknesses of your baby into consideration. And of course you can take these to your babies doctor and ask what they would recommend or change for your baby.

So tell me...
Did you have an exercise regimen for you baby?
Are there any other 'moves' that you would recommend?

Here's what I wrote for the letter "E" in 2014:
Entertaining Guests
I have always admired people who throw extravagant dinner parties. Creating a beautiful menu, with the plates matching the tablecloth, and everyone having a grand old time.

Not always reality, am I right?... Click the link to read the rest...
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016


D is for decongestant and allergy medicine. Because I'm participating in the A-Z Challenge and simultaneously sick, I'm merging the two.

See you tomorrow for the letter E.

Here's what I wrote for the letter "D" in 2014:
Dream Vacation
Recently, my co-workers created one of their office lottery pools. They were having a conversion about what they would do if they won the lottery, and although I never opt in with them, someone asked me what I would do. ... Click the link above to read the rest...
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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.

The cherry blossoms that bloom around Washington D.C. are fairly well-known... for good reason.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival happens every spring, in Washington D.C. It is to commemorate the Japanese cherry trees that Japan gave to the United States in 1912.
The entire Tidal Basin area is laid out so that as you walk among the blooms you find yourself passing several monuments and statues.
There is a 300 year old stone statue, placed to commemorate the signing of the Japan-US Treaty of Amity and Friendship in 1854. One year later, a stone pagoda was gifted as well.

While the best views in my opinion are from the Tidal Basin, you can make your way in a loop around to the museums, various monuments and even to the White House and Capitol. But... expect crowds.

A few tips:
  • Try to attend during the Kite Festival, which is scheduled and posted here. You will see kites being flown in the National Mall and at the Washington Monument. 
    • You can bring your own kite, or buy one while there from the many kite sellers. Great activity for kids!
  • If there were ever a moment I wanted a 'selfie-stick', it was at the White House. 
    • I just stayed away from the mass of people and sent in my tall husband. And don't even bother trying if you are bringing a stroller or anything other than your own body. 
  • Do what we did when it comes to parking..... don't drive to Washington D.C. 
    • Drive to a nearby metro station and park there. Then enjoy the very clean and quick ride into the center of the city. We drove to the Branch Avenue station and it was a half hour ride. It will be a bit more crowded than usual, but I definitely recommend considering it. Parking is free at Metro-operated lots on weekends and federal holidays.

     National Park Service- Cherry Blossom Festival
     Wikipedia- History of the National Cherry Blossom Festival
     Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Forecasts
     National Cherry Blossom Festival website

So tell me...
Have you visited Washington DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival?
Where do you live, and is there a place near you that showcases these trees?

Here's what I wrote for the letter "C" in 2014:
Candid Camera- NYC Subway
"Some people travel to and from work and never look up from their iPhone. Today I'm posting all the photos I've taken on the NYC Subway, that you might've missed otherwise.

I have a long commute, so grab a coffee and get comfy.
Also, Tom kind of photobombed one of the below photos. Do you see him?" 
Click the link to read the rest...
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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Baby Shower Advice (From a New Mom)

You get a lot of advice given when you are pregnant... sometimes too much advice or even unwanted advice. But the one time you are likely hoping to get a lot of good, practical advice is during your baby shower.
Since I only had my baby a few months ago, I've said "I wish I knew that" more than a handful of times. So when I received an invite to an upcoming baby shower, I started thinking about what I would write in the card. I'm sure a simple "congrats, can't wait to meet him!" would be appreciated, but I decided that it would be fun to list some of the things I've found to be true in these first few months.

I remember that I actually went up to several people at my baby shower(s) and asked for any tips they might have. Since that they had all exhausted their bank of anecdotes and tips in the months prior, it was funny that they were coming up empty by the time I was asking for it.

Tips for the First Few Months

-Don't stock up on diapers, you might have a fast grower.
-Have photos taken of you and Richard with your son- not just of him alone.
-Wait to buy any baby clothes until he needs them as you will likely be gifted a lot of 0-3 and 3-6 month clothes.
-Every two weeks will be different. Your baby will grow and learn new skills so quickly.
-Don't listen to other people's birth "horror stories" and if they start telling one kindly ask them to stop.
-Make sure there is some specific daddy-baby activity such as reading at night, playing before work or even nighttime diaper changes.
-Expect to use diaper rash cream a lot (in underarms, his neck, behind knees even) if he becomes a chubby little guy.
-Utilize the experts around you- family, friends and church family. There is someone who can help or has gone through it!

And most importantly... remember that regardless of how clueless you might feel as a new mom- your baby will ADORE you. He will be completely over-the-moon, in love with you.

So tell me...
Which piece of advice do you agree (or disagree) with?
What would you add?
Here's what I wrote for the letter "B" in 2014:
Bad Habits
I have an unconscious habit of biting my lip, which Tom hates. When nervous, I pick at my cuticles. When falling asleep, I tend to fidget and move around. I also have a stubborn streak, which... Click the link to read the rest...
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Asking for Help

One of my biggest fears is having to asking for help from others. I've always tried to be self-sufficient, so when I married into my husband's family I quickly found that this was a family all about involvement and "how can I help?"... which is not what I was used to at all.

Ever since the colic days, I've realized how needy I am and how blessed I am with the family I married into. When Daniel reached the height of his shrieking and was crying until he was purple, I spent nearly all day with my mother in law, which consisted of us passing him back and forth so the other could take a rest from trying to console him.
And up to that point, I had been trying to do everything all on my own, without bringing him over for much more than a hour or so to visit. When he started to act less and less like a sweet sleepy newborn (as the colic set in) I tried to bring him only when they would 'enjoy' him. Of course when he started to slip into the screaming and crying, I realized that I needed help and that I would have to suck it up and ask for it.

During the colicky days, my formerly relaxed baby required constant walking around, swaying and trying to soothe him. Or else he would scream his little head off. When he turned 3 weeks old, all of his daytime naps stopped... which meant that all my sleep also stopped. I asked my mother in law if she could watch him for a few hours, and she happily accepted. Thank God for her, because without her help, I'm not sure how I would have functioned. I would have been sleep-deprived, in a disastrous house with no time to even think straight.
Since my in laws live in the same apartment building as us, it felt like I could easily be asking for too much help and possibly imposing. But my husband reminded me that I have been receiving help from her in the same way that she received help from her mother in law and sister in law when she had her two babies. And to quit overthinking it.

This entire parenting experience has been very humbling. 

So tell me...
When you had children, did you find yourself asking for help?
Are you a independent person, or embrace assistance?
Were you blessed by a great family of in-laws, or did you go through this experience solo?
Here's what I wrote for the letter "A" in 2014:
April Fools
Growing up, I was basically an only child. My parents were both married before each other, and had kids with their first spouses. When they got married and had me, I was the only kid I knew for a large chunk of my childhood. Needless to say I did my fair share of pranking my poor mother... Click the link to read the rest...
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