Archive | Quick Takes

Seven Quick Takes: Books, TV, and Colds

Linking up with Kelly.


I’m almost done reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link) and all I can say is, the title does NOT disappoint. I’m working on a more detailed post about this for next week, but I spent several hours this week sorting through all of my clothes and ended up with an ENORMOUS amount of stuff to donate. But the best part was this:2015-01-06 11.36.01

Now THAT is a thing of beauty. All of my workout clothes, ALL of them, folded neatly and arranged so everything is visible. More to come on that, but so far, I’ve already gotten my $10 worth from the book. And I’m SO EXCITED to go through the rest of the house and get rid of 90% of our things.


Natalie’s been feeling a big under the weather this week, which is always tough to see. She wakes up in the morning with her hair plastered to the side of her face with the drippings from her runny nose, and spends most of the day crying to be picked up, and then being annoyed that she’s not walking around. Poor thing. I have a lot of sympathy for the fussiness, since I know that’s the only way she has to express that she doesn’t feel well.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t laugh at her a little bit (behind my hand, of course) last night when she threw an absolute fit because I wouldn’t give her a raw onion to eat.


Beckham has also been feeling under the weather. Will and I were convinced he was dying and were ready to pack him up to go to the vet, but then he made a miraculous turnaround. We thought he was dying because he was acting like a normal cat and not like a golden retriever: sleeping a lot, keeping to himself, and really not giving a damn where Will and I were. Which is VERY odd because usually you can’t even go pee without that cat either in the bathtub or trying to sit in your lap. HI HI HOW’S IT GOING WHATCHA DOIN’ CAN I HELP? We knew he’d turned the corner when he once again started announcing his VERY LOUD arrival whenever he went anywhere.


My birthday is on Sunday and I thought I’d be freaking out a bit about turning thirty (THIRTY!), but I’m feeling pretty ok about the whole thing. Probably because birthday = cake and who could ever be sad about cake? C’mon now.


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Will discovered my dirty little secret.


I don’t know what I’m more excited about: the return of Downton Abbey, or the return of Happy Place’s Downton Abbey Recaps. They used to do “If Downton Abbey Happened Entirely on Facebook” and they’re hilarious. This time around, it’s a group text. I don’t think this is quite as funny as the Facebook one, but still good. Obviously major spoilers, so don’t click on that link unless you’ve seen the episode. Or if you don’t care about Downton Abbey. In which case I’m not sure we can still be friends.


It snowed a little bit this week and I do not approve. That is all.


Around Here: Weaning

Today I want to talk about weaning, but let’s ease into it with some general life chatter first.


Let’s look at some pictures first //

Natalie’s 12-month photo! And yes, that is THE chair! It’s perfect and I’m so excited for the next stage in her photo project. You know what it’s also perfect as? A launchpad! A trampoline! A literal stepping stone to bigger and better things, like the couch!

Yeah, we’ve had to place it in quarantine for now because someone can’t quite be trusted to use it as, you know, a chair right now.



At least it makes a very pretty photo prop.

OK onto the main topic of discussion //

Natalie is weaning. I am weaning Natalie. I’m not sure how to accurately describe it, because it is far from the painful, tearful process I imagined (and was told) it would be. Just two weeks ago she was nursing 4-5 times a day in a roughly 13-hour period  — waking up around 6 a.m. and going to bed at 7 p.m., and no nursing overnight. And then, quite by accident, we were busy one afternoon and just kind of skipped right by the afternoon nursing.

And it was fine.

So I did it again the next day. And it was just fine.

At which point I kind of shrugged to myself and said, ok, I guess this is happening now.

Now, a week and a half later, she is nursing twice a day: once when she wakes up, and once when she goes to bed. Last night she only nursed on one side, so it’s really only like 1.5 times per day.

I am not going to lie: this has been much harder on me than it has been on Natalie. It’s bittersweet in ways that I never quite expected. On the one hand, I am THRILLED beyond measure to not be tethered to Natalie in four-hour increments. That has been really, really hard, and I truly wish that I had introduced the bottle and started to pump earlier so that someone else (HI WILL) could’ve helped out more with that aspect of her care.

(Side note: if anyone so much as breathes the words “nipple confusion” in the comments, I will virtually smack you upside the head. I don’t want to hear it. Srsly.)

But on the other hand, this time that I’ve had with her has been, by and large, one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. Yeah, I know how obnoxious this is, but I’m totally going to play the “I just didn’t get it until I became a mom!” card. #sorrynotsorry

So that’s how I found myself crying over Natalie’s afternoon snack last week when she woke up from her nap and I did not sit with her so she could nurse. I popped her in the highchair, handed over a pouch, and she hoovered it right up. She watched me warily as the tears flowed freely down my face, obviously deeply concerned that this would interfere with my ability to fill another pouch for her.

It was fine. It was so fine that I was devastated. Is that messed up? I feel like it’s messed up. Welcome to motherhood.

She’s ready. She’s not signing for milk or tugging at my shirt or being exceptionally clingy. And even though the amount of time we spend together hasn’t changed, I’ve been careful to spend more time with her on my lap reading books, or pulling her close for a hug and a kiss, or picking her up and singing her a song. The only change is that she’s eating more solid foods, since we’ve added a couple of extra snacks during the day to make up for the loss of those calories.

We introduced cow’s milk last week, and that’s been going…ok. At first she flat-out refused it by opening her mouth after taking a sip and letting it all fall out, but then I read a tip online that the milk might have to be sweetened at first. So for a few days I made her a baby milkshake by blending half a banana with 4-5 oz of whole milk, and she was a big fan of that. I gradually cut down the amount of banana in the milk, and now she’ll drink it straight up. She’s still not crazy about it and prefers to drink water, but since she eats an insane amount of food for a one-year old, I’m not concerned. I just provide the food and drink and I trust she’ll take what she needs.

I don’t know what’s going to happen after we cut out the bedtime nursing. The tentative plan is to see how it goes through the weekend, and then either Sunday or Monday night we’ll launch into the bedtime routine without nursing. I don’t mind taking this slowly. There’s no need to shock her system by cutting her off cold turkey (um also I remember how incredibly painful it was when my milk first came in and when I had blocked ducts, so I have zero intention of weaning abruptly. It’s for my own good.). And if she needs to keep the morning nursing for a while, that’s ok. I’m not usually in the habit of dashing out of the house at 5 a.m., so I don’t mind if we hold onto that one for a bit.

Plus, if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t think I’m ready for her to be completely done with nursing. Which is odd, because now I feel selfish both for wanting to continue and for wanting to be done.

I have no doubt that some of you may be thinking, if you’re so sad, why give it up? And to that I can only say that this is how I imagine it will feel to send her off to kindergarten, or the first time I realize that I’m embarrassing her in public, or when she starts calling me “Mom” instead of “Mamamamamama.”

I’m not crying because this is a sad event; I’m crying because it’s the ending of this particular period of our relationship. She’s growing up and that’s amazing and exactly what she’s supposed to be doing.

But endings are complicated, even when you know what comes next is…just fine.


Quick Takes: Mostly About Sleeping


You may have noticed that Natalie’s weekly photo from last week is a bit different from all the previous ones, because she’s sitting up rather than lying down on the fabric. I’m grudgingly coming to accept the fact that these photoshoots are now a two-person job. Either she a) cries hysterically the moment I lay her down, or b) she rolls away so quickly that I have to choose between taking the shot or catching her before she falls off the edge of the mattress. Thus far I’ve chosen to catch her, but I really need Will’s help so it’s not such a terrible dilemma. His assistance, however, doesn’t change the fact that she loses her flipping mind as soon as she lies down, so she might be sitting up from here on out.


I recently re-opened my pet photography business (that’s what the new “Work with me” tab up top is) and was pleasantly surprised when I got a call to photograph two super sweet cats last week. They were absolute dolls and I had so much fun! Natalie hung out with our babysitter, and I am not ashamed to admit that she didn’t even cross my mind once during the shoot. It was refreshing to be doing creative work for people who didn’t even know I had a daughter. I love her to pieces but every so often it’s nice to be known as something other than “Natalie’s mom.” I’m not going to post any of the photos from the shoot here, but you can see a sneak peek of you like my Facebook business page.


We took Natalie to a playground this weekend and she got to experience swings for the first time. It was hugely anticlimactic. She loves it and cackles like a crazy person when we hold her and run around or swoop her back and forth or pretend to drop her, but we didn’t get anything more expressive than a coy smile on the swing. She was pretty tired, though, so I think next time will be more exciting for her.



I’ve never met a bandwagon I didn’t want to jump on, which is why I’ve joined the Click It Up a Notch #clickaday challenge for the month of June. It’s pretty straightforward – take a picture every day in June and post it using the #clickaday hashtag. You can use whatever camera you want to, even your iPhone, but I’m going to push myself to use my DSLR every day. More details on the challenge here and you can follow along with me on Instagram here.


I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here or not, but Natalie has actually slept through the night twice.

Hold on, let me try that again. SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT TWICE!!! CAPS LOCK.

I don’t mean the official definition of sleeping through the night (which is 5 hours, did you know that? I call total bull. I think it’s only defined that way so smug parents can say their 2-day old slept through the night), I mean she was in her crib the whole entire night, sleeping quite peacefully and without requiring anything from either Will or me. Last night was the second time (the first was several weeks ago) and it was amaaaaazing. Seven p.m. until 5:45 a.m. That’s a tad early for me, but I feel more rested than I do when she stays in her crib until 7 a.m., but I get up to feed her around 4 or 5.

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Gurl, you have GOT to get me the name of your stylist.


six which is really a continuation of five

I’ve made no secret of the fact that while we sleep-trained Natalie back in January at bedtime, we haven’t been strict about it overnight and I’ve been feeding her when she wakes up. In February that meant three times a night and I was losing my mind from sleep deprivation, but then she dropped one feeding, and then another, and now we’re teetering on the edge of letting go of the final one. This past week I’ve been letting her wiggle around for 10 minutes if she wakes up in the early morning (typically this has been around 3 or 4) instead of getting up right away to feed her. And except for one night when she didn’t really settle back down, she’s been out cold again within eight minutes.

(I know, I know, this is Baby 101: make sure the baby is actually awake before you rush in there to feed her or whatever. This has been a kind of backwards laziness on my part: I wanted to get back to sleep more quickly and it seemed like I could make that happen by just getting the nursing over with so I could go back to bed.)

Anyway, it’s been quite clear the past two weeks that she’s not really hungry. She nurses distractedly, barely gets anything, and then falls asleep immediately, arms hanging limply at her sides while I transfer her back to the crib.

So, the “let her wiggle” routine is definitely working, because she’s putting herself back to sleep quickly and with with very little fuss. I would very much like for this to continue.

seven which isn’t about sleep at all

This is a blatant brag, but it’s my blog and I’m proud of myself, so that’s the price you pay for all these cute baby pictures. My mom + baby fitness class held a mileage challenge in May (walking, running, biking – whatever you felt like doing) and I logged 62 miles. Mostly walking, but the point (for me) is that I managed to get out there almost every day. I’m also up to a distance of five miles for my long run. Pre-pregnancy I would’ve scoffed at that number, but gaining thirty pounds and then putting your body through the wringer that is childbirth really makes you start back at square one.

Photo time! The family that runs together gets lots of bug bites together.

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Quick Takes: Tea, Bottles, and ENOUGH WITH THE WINTER ALREADY


Over the course of the past month Natalie has finally dropped one of her nighttime feedings and is now waking up twice to eat instead of three times. This is, admittedly, still not all that great for an 8-month old who has been hanging out above the growth chart her entire life, but it’s better than it was. I will take progress where I can get it.

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(This is what she looks like when I wake her up in the morning. Groggy much?)


At the repeated urgings of everyone in the entire world, I have turned over the responsibility for one of the night feedings to Will. It was his idea and god bless him for it, because IT’S WORKING. Natalie’s history of taking a bottle is…not good, so this is really, really good news.

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel like this is mostly my fault. Knowing full well that I would be staying home with her, I was lazy and didn’t offer the bottle as much as I should have in those early months. I’ve also been terrible about taking time for myself, so the end result is a baby that has been fed exclusively from the tap her whole life except for one day.

(If you’re doing the math in your head, that means that except for that one day, I haven’t spent more than a few hours away from her. In eight months. I adore my daughter but this is not healthy, kids. Do as I say, not as I do.)

Also, I hate pumping, and I know I am the only mom in the whole history of the world who doesn’t LOVE being hooked up to a machine like a barnyard animal. You’re exposed, tethered to one spot, and measuring your worth as a mother ounce-by-ounce. What’s not to love?


Ok back to Will’s adventures in bottlefeeding, because that backstory was a whole bullet point all by itself. This week I’ve been preparing a bottle in the evenings for Will to give to Natalie the first time she wakes up to eat, which is normally around 11pm. The first night she chose to skip that feeding entirely, slept til 2am, and then drained the bottle. We did a happy dance, thinking that maybe she was dropping that first feeding all on her own.

Hope springs eternal, no matter how many times your baby bashes you over the head with reality.

NOPE NOPE NOPE. Every night since then has been, well, not so great. In Natalie’s defense, there’s something else going on. Either she’s teething, or her tummy is having a hard time getting used to the solid food she is suddenly swallowing with gusto, or it’s developmental thing — she’s soooooo close to crawling and I think it’s driving her a little bit nuts.

But the bottom line is she’s taken a bottle, a whole bottle, from Will every night. The tentative plan is to gradually reduce how much milk is in the bottle until she decides that it’s just not worth waking up for. We’re taking a short trip in a few weeks and my hope (still springing eternal!) is that we can gradually get her down to just one night waking by then.


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When my mom visited the highlight of her trip was cleaning my kitchen. We didn’t just clean; we took everything out of the cabinets, donated a bunch of stuff, and reorganized everything. We also checked expiration dates on all of our food and many of my teas needed to be pitched. Insert sad panda face here.

So I treated myself to some new teas from Republic of Tea. Good lord do I love their tea. I tried some new things: SUPER CAFFEINATED toasted coconut black tea, a sweet lemon chiffon green tea, a little traveler’s tin of refreshing kiwi pear, and a sampler box of some individual teas that I wasn’t quite sure enough about to purchase a whole box.

Verdict? AWESOME. I drink the toasted coconut tea every morning, since I’ve decided I drink too much coffee (switching to highly caffeinated tea makes no sense, I’m aware of that, but at least I’m not going through a gallon of coffee creamer every three days). The lemon chiffon is my after-dinner tea, in theory to replace dessert, but I’ve found it actually goes quite well with a handful of cookies. I’m saving the kiwi pear for warmer days, because it makes really, really good iced tea.


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Back to the goober. This picture is a bit deceptive, because even though she is clearly insanely proud of herself, I didn’t wander in after her nap and discover her like this. She was sitting in her crib while I was putting away her laundry, and she pulled herself up from there. She hasn’t yet figured out how to sit up from a laying down position, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

In her overwhelming excitement she forgot that she needed to hold on and released both of her hands in a fit of joy. She teetered for two long seconds before capsizing and bonking her head on the side of the crib, sitting in stunned silence for a moment and then releasing a fire engine wail.

(She’s fine and was back to her smiley self a few minutes later.)


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You think I have a bit of a ham on my hands? That picture on the left makes my heart ache. It also makes me a little twitchy because I accidentally put her romper on backwards. Lest you think it was warm enough for her to actually wear these clothes, HA, I laugh at you. And weep just a little bit. She’s only modeling outfits for said upcoming trip.


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Quick Takes: Eww Edition

I haven’t done one of these in a while, and gosh do I miss the brain dumping. I mean, the sharing of short but amusing anecdotes.

Linking up with Jen.


Baby’s first stomach flu! Aww. I’m thinking we don’t need to commemorate this one in the scrapbook. I will save you any and all details, so this post as been rated AREL: Appropriate to Read while Eating Lunch.

She started feeling poorly on Wednesday afternoon, was completely fine that night (and slept for 7 1/2 hours straight – the longest stretch of sleep in her LIFE), and then things started up again yesterday afternoon. We took her to the pediatrician, who declared that it’s just the stomach bug that’s going around, and that Natalie is handling it “really well.” And she is. This kid has an iron-clad immune system, and by that I mean she spends 90% of her time with me in the house and not with a dozen other adorable little germ incubators in daycare.


Remember how chill I was about not setting any goals or resolutions this year, just being present and effortlessly cool about my utter lack of direction in life? Uh, yeah. About that. NOT WORKING SO MUCH FOR ME.

And so I would like to prepare you now for the onslaught of posts coming next week about goal setting and life vision and One Direction. Scratch that. New direction.


I know exactly what you’re thinking: you’d really like to talk some more about bodily fluids. OK FINE.

As you may or may not be aware, we cloth diaper Natalie and have done so since the first day she was born. It has all been working swimmingly, except for the past month or two when we’ve had some serious night leaking problems. I have tried every single solution I could think of on my own, and/or found on a cloth diaper message board (that’s a thing! now you know.) I even engaged in a three-week long email battle with a cloth diaper company that presumably makes the holy grail diaper of nighttime diapering (TL;DR: they sent me the wrong size diaper and took foooooreeeeeeeveeeeer to send me the right one) that I was CERTAIN would solve all my problems.

It didn’t. Natalie hated it.

And so I flew my white flag high and purchased the smallest box of overnight Pampers I could find. Will and I inspected the wafer-thin diapers with some concern. How are these supposed to hold anything, let alone Natalie’s nighttime output? But I was so very, very tired of twice-nightly diaper changes that I was willing to give it a go.

And you know what? They work pretty well. She is still waking up two or three times a night, but we are indeed able to go 12 hours without a diaper change. Doesn’t mean I don’t despise them. They smell all chemical-y and I find the warning on the side of the box about “a gel-like substance that may appear on your baby” to be a bit concerning. (It’s totes fine and dandy! Just don’t let your baby eat it or they might swell up like a life raft, since that’s what these diapers were made to do.) But they are keeping her comfortable and dry all night and so I am 100% willing to keep using them.

Favorite Pampers moment: Will putting it on Natalie for the first time and flinging up his hands in exasperation, sighing that he didn’t understand how it worked. Dude can stuff a pocket diaper in the dark in two seconds flat and velcro it to a squirmy baby with his eyes closed, but was baffled by a disposable diaper. God do I love that man.


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Those wrist creases. ‘Nuff said.


Related to #4, Natalie had her six-month checkup this week. Homegirl now weighs 21 pounds, which explains my killer guns and string of knots all up and down my back and in my shoulders. 100th percentile, yo.

I was very, very nervous about this appointment because of how gutted I felt by the pediatrician at the last one. I was ready for battle but pleasantly surprised to find the doctor on our side, and left the office for the first time in months without feeling like my parenting was being questioned by a medical professional.

Despite getting four shots and having to drink the Rotovirus vaccine, Natalie was in very good spirits. She wailed while getting the shots (c’mon, four shots in two minutes? I’d cry, too). But I picked her up the second it was over and those tears dried right up. By the time we made it out to the car I’m pretty sure she’d forgotten the entire ordeal, and chattered quietly to herself the whole ride home.


Will was traveling for work last week and so I invited myself over to my grandmother’s house for the night. Natalie had an insane sleep regression while we were there and was up every ninety minutes to two hours, with paltry 30-minute naps. Apparently the trade-off to not being alone was not sleeping.

I think the pack ‘n play was the culprit. Compared to Natalie’s crib mattress, the pack ‘n play “mattress” is like putting a sheet of paper on the floor and saying, “ok, there you go, sleep tight!” When I finally smartened up and actually put her in the bed, she napped for over an hour.

We’re planning a trip to visit my parents in TN sometime this spring, so I’m very glad I discovered that fun little fact about the pack ‘n play on a single overnight stay, rather than a week-long visit. If you have any recommendations for comfortable travel cribs, please please please hit me up in the comments. I’m also willing to buy something and have it sent to TN, so it doesn’t have to travel with us.

Anywho, of course I used some of my time to get my craft on. Here’s a picture of an old lady working on a project, and her two grandmothers.

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We sleep trained Natalie and it was the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. More to come about sleep training but right now it’s a thousand-word rant? Manifesto? Missive? that is in need of some serious editing before I can let it loose into the world.


Happy happy Friday, all.


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