Artificial?

Just a quick post about a conversation (albeit brief) I had with the hubby the other day. It went something close (but not verbatim) to this:

Me: So, y’know that whole “artificial ingredients” thing in foods…?

Dave: Mhmm.

Me: Why would we want to put ANYTHING artificial into our bodies?

Dave: Good point. (nods in agreement)

Me: Yeah. Gross. (shivers)

When two people are in agreement, sometimes no further conversation is necessary. So, needless to say, we do our best not to buy and/or consume any items with artificial stuff in them. This isn’t really the hard part. The hard part is figuring out which “natural” ingredients are (and aren’t) okay.

For example, we have the dreaded high fructose corn syrup. This is a “natural” product, thanks to the Corn Growers’ Association’s pressuring of the FDA, but I digress. The commercials argue that it’s the same as any other sugar product and has the same effect on our bodies. Good argument, but that’s not the reason it’s unhealthy. I’m all for sugar in moderation.

The reason we’re not down with HFCS is thanks to a comparison of diets. One hundred years ago (or more), our relatives ate corn, if they could afford it. But, they ate it straight off the cob. It wasn’t in a high percentage of every foodstuff in their pantry. Actually, most (if not all) of their food was actually REAL food (and organic!), with no additives/preservatives/crap. Today, almost any highly-processed product that you pick up in the grocery store reads “high fructose corn syrup” on the label.

Even our cows are fed on the cheap grass/hay alternative. When they consume vast amounts of corn, what are we then ingesting via our beef? You got it. (Not to mention the fact that they’re not allowed to graze and roam openly…)

Studies show that the increased consumption of corn (particularly processed) can lead to many diseases with inflammation at their causes – from high cholesterol to strokes to heart disease. No sir, not to be taken lightly.

So, a big goal of ours is to eat more closely to that of our ancestors. We’re not “paleo” since we also tend to rely on less meat in our diets than we used to. We’re just more conscious. No wonder some of my favorite blogs these days are about the whole foods movement.

(Side note: As I was searching for a royalty-free image to use with this post, I stumbled upon a vintage poster used by the U.S. Food Administration during WWII promoting the use of corn, given its higher yield and greater availability. Maybe this is what pushed science to create HFCS and expand its use in convenience products. Hmm. Thanks a lot, Hitler.)

Dating Quotes and Baseball and Skulls, Oh My

Time is a funny thing…especially with a baby. It gets sucked up. It disappears. You get thrust into a black hole that sucks up your to-do list, eats it, then spits you out, list-less and therefore unable to complete anything on it. I may stop fighting it. Step one? To continue this post as originally written. I started it in August…I can’t even remember what day. There have, needless to say, been other outings since (heck, he’s even been on a few restaurant visits), but adjusting it accordingly is an uphill battle. Please don’t mind. I’m trying not to mind the fact that I have a 3 month-old…please enjoy this post while I try to contain my tears on that thought.

Hadley and I had our first errand outing as just Mommy and Baby today. My mom escorted us on a shopping trip a week or two ago, but having her help was very different than one-on-one. Since Hads had his first “drop off for someone else to watch him” incident yesterday (which went quite well…I didn’t even cry! I probably could have, but I held it together ) while I had a follow-up appointment, I realized that I need to get the heck out of the house to try to rebuild my energy.

Today’s docket involved dropping off prescriptions, doing some shopping, and picking up said prescriptions.

Sounds simple, right? Well, in a way, it was. How it ended up taking three hours, I have no idea. It could have something to do with the fact that Hadley did REALLY, REALLY well in his stroller and in the car. And we don’t even use a “travel system.” Every place we went, he’d need to be unbuckled and put into the stroller; he hardly woke up. What a trooper! Or, that could just be motherly pride talking.

Anyhoo, we hit up Kmart (for some reason I find this place slightly less evil than Walmart…could be because I worked there for a couple of years while in college. Wait. Why do I find them to be LESS evil?!) for new jeans for Mommy (I insist they’re not “Mom Jeans”), to peruse comfy fall/winter clothes for Hadley, and pick out a toy for Hadley to give his cousin for her impending first birthday.

I did well finding jeans for myself (and on sale, at that!). But, here’s where my accusation of sexism comes in.

*Insert picture I accidentally deleted from my cell phone in order to make room for less cynical, more precious pictures of the little one*

Oops.

Sorry ’bout that. Here, in far less than 1,000 words (man, that picture would’ve come in handy!) – let’s just say less than 1/3 of the clothes in Hadley’s age range were for the male persuasion. I know the ladies are cute and all, but over 2/3 of the clothes were for them?! C’mon. Additionally, of the clothes available for purchase, most had athletic themes or ridiculous quotes on them.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of those “quote” onesies are awesome. We have a few ones concerning “aunties” that we put him in anytime he sees one; I’m actually saddened that he’s outgrown the first. But most, I find lame. And we HOPE Hads is well-rounded enough to be interested in sports. No, really, we do! (And I was even very pleased with a recent gift from my brother and his family that included a squishy football and corresponding outfit, plus a “New York Giants” onesie from my friend, Beth.) But when they’re all that’s available, for the most part? “Pshaaaahhhhhrrrggghh”, I say.

Pshaaaahhhhhrrrggghh, indeed.

While clothes aren’t that important, the idea that they’re a necessity simply makes it so that we MUST shop for them. Is it too much to think that the clothes we put on reflect our inner-makings? And when it’s a little baby, whose inner-makings are really reflected? The parents, obviously. I won’t lie. It’s totally us. We want to show what our values are through what we put him in. At the same time, it’s also based on what we hope for our little man. Y’know. Like the onesie I bought in Concord, MA last year with a Thoreau quote. CLEARLY he doesn’t care what it is…but I loved it and HAD to have it. (It said “I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.” — Henry D. Thoreau)
Am I being unreasonable that I’d prefer not to put a quote on my son that welcomes flirts from “the ladies”? Or that I’d prefer not to put a skull with crossbones (not in a pirate theme, mind you) and rocker graffiti on him? Or the overly-cutesy bear-on-the-butt-AND-feet outfits? Or various colors of camouflage?! It sure does whittle down your options.

So, as not to end this on a sour, complainy note, I thought I’d share some types of outfits that Dave and I WOULD approve. (Sorry, I’ve attempted to find images of outfits that I’d approve, but it’s proven far too lengthy a task.)

While we’re not out to prep-ify the kid too much, we do find it neat to dress a tad like Daddy. So, how can we not go for khakis and a collared shirt? (We WILL be purchasing a special Christmas eve “dressy” outfit, and I have a feeling that it will include a tie.) I was also ecstatic that I found a pair of “jeans” (elastic waist and softer than jeans, but they look like jeans), which I would live in, myself, if I had the choice. For sake of comfort and (somewhat) ease with changing, we use pull-on sweatpants that tend to match his onesie appropriately. It has suddenly become difficult to find them in his size (he’s currently in the 3-6 month range, depending on the brand; some are way too big still, but he’s outgrown most of his 0-3 and even a couple of his 3-6 outfits), but luckily it’s starting to get colder so I’m fine with him staying in a long-sleeve, long-pant sleep ‘n play outfit.

I’d say that our ultimate goal for his style is earthy/casual/prepster. It takes a lot of searching to fill those needs, but what’s more fun than shopping for a baby? Maybe that’s why we get a million outfits (some of which we really, honestly, bluntly HATE); people can’t help themselves. But, as parents, I’d kind of rather do the shopping ourselves or tell folks specifically what we’re in need of, so that we don’t end up with stuff we’ll never use. Does that sound terribly rude? Go ahead, feel free to weigh in! Maybe I’m just too controlling/uptight about the whole thing. But when your kid is the cutest in the world, it’s hard not to overthink things.

Two Years and Counting

Don’t puke your brains out (ew, what a visual!) or anything, but today we’ll be taking a romantic walk down memory lane, and a lovely look at what’s to come.

Two years ago today, I became a married lady. I was already on my way to becoming a crazy cat lady, but at least I had a partner to share the crazy with.

The day, itself, was incredible. I’m not saying there weren’t setbacks, because there were. Programs didn’t get passed (at least, I don’t think they were), I ticked off the groom by trying to assist in picture set-ups, and the seating list at our reception caught fire.

But, that doesn’t take away from the magic that was palpable that day. From the crisp, beautiful fall day we were gifted, to my mom and I (along with our beyond-awesome photographer, Sarah) fitting in a quick get-away to the cemetery to remember and include my dad in a small way, from the borrowed Rolls Royce and homemade apple pie to surprise the groom with, from the most delicious meal I’ve ever tasted, from a fun time being had by pretty much all present (miraculous!)…it was nothing short of amazing.

The Vermont honeymoon was perfect. We enjoyed ourselves in a slow, meandering sort of way, sure to include historical stops, locally quirky tourist destinations, antique hunting, and wonderful food. Here are my posts (one, two, three and one-year return) recapping the fun.

I felt an excited nervousness about it all. It could have just been caused by the autumn chill, but more likely it was the unsureness of staring down a never-ending trail that will lead, ultimately, to the life one leads, with the partner one has chosen. Since then, and especially in the past year, the excitement remains, but the nervousness has given way to a peacefulness.

It’s true that a relationship changes when a baby comes into the picture. You’re really shown the person you married, whether you like that person or not, and must learn to cope with their idiosyncrasies whilst also learning to cope with a completely helpless little human being. It can be daunting, or, as in my case, a hugely calming relief. We still have our idiosyncrasies, of course, but they are far more bearable than I imagined they would be.

I am lucky enough to have fallen in love with the same man for a second time. I know from experience that the trend is to generally fall hard at first only to succumb to something (or get married, LOL). Difference in personality, lack of commitment, a broken heart. In our case, I fell sensibly in love with Dave at first, and with the birth of our son (and gradual growth of love in our household…okay, okay, and the addition of each kitty, I’ll admit it), the love I felt for our family reflected in the man I was lucky enough to land. It has only grown, and we can both sincerely say that we are far more in love today than we were two years ago…or even more so than the day we first said “I love you” in the first place.
So, while we didn’t return to Vermont (we had discussed it, but with a 3-month old, it didn’t seem plausible) or even get to eat at Beardslee when we had hoped (we’ve got reservations for this weekend, thank goodness!), we couldn’t be happier OR more in agreement in the fact that our 5th anniversary (coming late May 2013) is UNBELIEVABLE – it feels like just yesterday that we were just friends, getting to know each other while “acting out” at the theater.
Oh, and don’t think we won’t attempt a return to VT next year, with our 15-month old in tow! We’re gluttons for punishment, and the experience is too rejuvenating not to return to.

Mrow

Upon re-reading (and, ahem, editing) this post from June 11th, the unlit light bulb that usually floats above my head sparked. The result is the following post about how the cats have adjusted to our new life.

Here was my prediction at the time…

“We know that Beardslee is quite mellow, and has dealt quite well with his brothers coming home in the past, AND simply naps when my sister’s little one is around, so hopefully his transition will be smooth. We predict that Jasper will (eventually, at least) be the little one’s “buddy”…especially since he has slept next to the belly almost every night lately. But, he’s a bit spazzy, so that may take time. Eventually, he’s sure to be a toddler’s best friend, though.

Winston, however, is the wild card. He’s currently “the baby.” A very sensitive little guy who has a wicked mean streak (Jasper and occasionally Beardslee get their butts KICKED every morning, usually starting around 3 or 4 am; which I’ve learned must be handled with patience rather than screaming and a squirt gun…parenting tip #1) and is a downright bully at times…but when the others aren’t around, or he gets “in the proper mood,” he’s the cuddliest, sweetest little guy in the house. He’ll simply have to adapt, but I’m hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the little guy. (Although he does think that several of the baby’s toys are his, already…along with other spots in the nursery, LOL.)”

I was pretty much dead right as far as how the lil’ guys have adjusted. But, let’s start at the beginning.

Being away from my “first children” was harder than I thought. It’s been hard in the past even to sleep over at my sister’s for Black Friday, away from Dave and the furries. But, this time they knew something was up when I left, and my emotions were on high from the hormones and disappointment of the scheduled C-section, so it hit me even harder to leave them for several days.

After several days of taking care of a newborn and adjusting to breastfeeding/the incision/lack of sleep, it was surreal just stepping foot back into our house. Instantly, all three boys (even the skinny-minnie Winston) seemed big. Not fat, but BIG. Big paws. Thick legs. Big bodies. Saucer eyes. Everything.

They also seemed to be on high alert. It appeared that they were pleased to have me back home, but the fact that I brought with me a living, moving creature (that smelled like the blanket Daddy had brought home for them to sniff) might have made me enemy #1. I just recall walking in, giving high-pitched squeals of love to my boys, observing their very careful steps, setting down Hadley (uber quiet in his carrier), plopping down into my chair, thinking, “now what?!” and bursting into tears of exhaustion and joy.

The guys didn’t appear “normal” to me for awhile after that. No one hid or howled in sadness or anger, which was my #2 fear; my #1 fear was that they’d hurt Hadley (and none of our boys are declawed). This didn’t happen, either. There was just a slight air of skidishness throughout the house, but that could’ve been from new parenthood as much as from nervous cats.

As time quickly passed, we learned that none of the boys is fearless. Jasper, in his own simple-minded way, is the “bravest” (ie most stupid?) and would hunker down on our bed in the middle of even the worst of Hadley’s tantrums. He has also been the first (and only, so far as I remember) to rub up against Had’s feet or the side of his head. I think it’s one of those “Mommy’s my best friend, and the baby came from Mommy, so I’m his best friend, too” sort of things. Heck, it’s how he took to Dave, too. “If Daddy’s her best friend…and I’m her best friend…I should like him!” So, he’s a definite buddy. I knew he would be.
Beardslee’s the most adjustable cat on earth…well, next to Jasper. He DOES have a rare-but-fierce temper when instigated. Otherwise, do whatchya want. Wanna pick me up out of a bush when I’m too weak to even meow? Thanks, sure. Wanna get me a “friend” who’s a huge drama queen? K. Wanna change what I eat and where I poop? I’ll follow. Wanna get me ANOTHER “friend” who doesn’t know where to scratch or the right way to potty? That’s fine. Baby? I got this.
Then there’s Wee Wee. “They call me MISTER Winston.” He’s been our biggest issue, and it’s not a huge one. More of a huge annoyance. Let’s just say that ever since those binkies (and bottle nipples? Yes, PLEASE, ma’am!) made their first appearance, he was a fan. He is known to prance and run around carrying them in his mouth (nipple first…yep…he thinks he’s a baby) and batting them all over the place. So much damn sterilization’s going on just from his midnight thefts. Oh, and, yes, if Hadley drops it while he’s sleeping, Winston will stretch his paw through the slats of the crib to steal the thing; he’ll never take it OUT of his mouth, though, almost to say, “Oh, you’re not using that right now? Mind if I do? Thanks.” Grr.
But watch them all when Dave’s a few minutes late bringing Hadley home. Watch them strategically place themselves around the doorway (Beardslee the closest on the stairs, Winston squatting near the shoes, Jasper finishing the half circle between them), showing body language that can only be seen as a friend missing a friend. Watch their eyes not leave the door until they hear Dad’s car pull in (when their heads turn to the sound, then back to the door, eagerly). Watch them sniff his socked toes in his carrier and contentedly hunker down for the night when they know their favorite man and their favorite boy are both home safely. We had an incredible family before; we have a perfect family now.

The Time Has Come

What a dramatic title. Probably overly so, but this is one of the biggest topics I’ve had to get a hold on since we even got pregnant in the first place. Yeah, THAT big.

We’ve been putting off using cloth diapers for a bit of awhile for a couple of reasons.

#1. We wanted to get the hang of H.A.’s feedings (yeah, sometimes I just feel like calling him “H.A.” as if he’ll one day be a fancy schmancy author or professor who goes by his initials. Plus, I gave them to him, so I can call him what I want. Fartypants McGee. Poopsalot Poutyface.)

#2. The confusion of what dipes to choose has been a tiiiiiny bit overwhelming.

#3. (singing) Time, time, tiiiiiiime. Time-time tiiiiiime. Time.

Yeah, those’re about it. We recently discovered the VERY encouraging option of purchasing a $10, 2-week trial at a local diaper store but thought we’d put it off until we have lots of time with Hads, ourselves. It wouldn’t be fair to make his caregiver do all the testing, especially since she’s got a pretty active 1-year-old on her hands, too.

Then we heard about the whole Japanese plant explosion that may cause a shortage of disposable diapers (read: jump in price)…and upon reading about the lack of chemical that will be causing the shortage, it was hard for our brains not to jump straight to “Mmmmmaaaaybe we need to switch over sooner rather than later.” I guess it was easy to force ourselves into a world of conveniently ignorant bliss, but to think of the chemicals we’re subjecting his “lil’ bidness” to…shiver.

In regards to the above challenges…#1 – we’ve pretty much figured it out, with exception to his uncomfortable gas situation. #2 – the trial helps here (and just jumping in with the ones I’ve purchased…although I’m up in the air as to whether I should just wash ’em all since the first time is an undertaking or just do a couple so that I can resell ’em if they don’t work out). #3 – while things are still hectic (or, shall we say, difficult to schedule?), once we get the hang of it I foresee it taking as much time as the disposables…maybe a tad more laundry time.

Up until this point, we’ve tried several kinds and found a favorite. While I’d like to say we’ve been Seventh Generation-ing it up, we haven’t. Pampers Swaddlers (not the other kind…and, strangely, it does make a difference) has been our go-to. It’s what FEELS the most like cloth. The other brands feel like, well, paper. I’d LIKE to make the switch to SG for those as-needed times (they weren’t HORRIBLE…just not what you’d like to put on your newborn’s sensitive bits), so we’ll see how that goes. A little at a time.

So, we may be finally picking up that trial package soon to get an idea of exactly what kind(s) we want to invest in — most likely to be tried over the following couple of weekends and overnight as not to overwhelm the sitter. And, when the moment strikes (ie during my next sudden burst of energy; that’s the only way I get anything done lately), I’ll be laundering the dozen organic bumGenius dipes that I bought pre-Hadley that have been sitting, in their packages, in a corner of the nursery. I’m nervous yet excited to get them on his bum and see if/how they work for us.

And, of course, I’ll be stopping back with my *honest* opinion of all the goings-on. Oh, and I suppose a “final” (is it ever really finished? And is there ever NOT an incoming bag of outfits messin’ the place up again?) nursery tour is in order. Especially now that he’s in the crib and we’re able to call it HIS space. 🙂 Now, we just have to determine where to hang a few final pieces of art…the hardest part.

*BTW, totally off-topic. Whatchya think of this font vs. my usual? Snazzy? Better or worse?*