How in the world do you mamas fix your little girls’ hair?

Holy moly, I tried putting Ava’s hair in a little pony tail last night, and I could hardly get her to sit still long enough to get the hair ties in her hair! She may be six before we get the hang of this. I know some moms who create tutorials to teach people how to do their baby daughters’ hair, and frankly, that’s genius. Hello, some of us need help. The styles are so cute and age appropriate for tiny people, and I doubt I would have thought of (most of) them myself, so I’m definitely grateful for them… however, it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of putting pigtails on this child. Make a tutorial for that!

Here’s a taste of last night’s styling:

top knot

Oof, right? I also tried pigtails, but it was very lopsided. I didn’t leave enough hair for the second side, so the other pigtail was more straight out of the back of her head. But really, can you blame me for not measuring the hair better? It was cute and made me laugh, but I’ll need to work on it. I took a picture, but The Blur was in all of them.

On another note, I’ve been meaning all week to recount our day last Saturday, but I haven’t had the time to go through all the pictures I took. So hopefully tomorrow’s the day. Saturday was a good day, but it opened my eyes a bit to the kind of parents Caleb and I are, and the kind we need to be to go to the zoo.

Fancy Restaurants & Aldi

I love my baby. And I love taking her places. I love shopping with her, and taking her on walks, and normally there’s no problem with doing just about anything I used to do pre-baby with her, but lately I’ve noticed two things I have come to dread if she’s along:

Fancy Restaurants and Aldi.

Let’s start with Fancy Restaurants. We went to dinner with a friend a few nights ago, and took Ava with us. To be fair, we didn’t know this was a fancy restaurant. I was there once for dinner before my Senior Prom, but that was 6 years ago. I should have remembered… I mean come on. Prom is fancy. Hello.

So we walked in, and I immediately turned around and whispered “This place is FANCY.” Inside, I was panicking, but I stayed cool (I think).  We were there to eat, so we were going to eat.

We went in and sat down, and I got Ava situated in her high chair with some yogurt bites, and things were okay. Things were okay until we ordered, and then she started yelling. She does that sometimes. Just yells. Mostly during dinner. She’s not upset about anything, just loud. No big deal, just give her a pouch. So I gave her a pouch of fruit–something, banana and beets. She inhaled it. Quiet for 5 minutes. Then the yelling. Have some toys. Another bit of quiet. Yelling. Finally, our food came, and I gave her some, which kept her busy for awhile, and then some more yelling. Good grief.

After awhile, all I could think about was getting out of there. I could just imagine people glaring at us, wondering why my child was yelling. They probably weren’t, but still. In my mind they already stoned me for interrupting their meals.

End of Fancy Restaurants forever. Until she learns manners.

Now on to Aldi, which was actually earlier last week. This was bound to happen eventually, but up until then, I hadn’t been grocery shopping with Ava solo. I’ve taken her to Wal-Mart before, for smaller-scale shopping, but never full-fledged grocery shopping.

I should have known it wasn’t going to be easy when I got a cart with no seat belt. I should have returned it, but it seemed like all of them were missing or broken, and I didn’t have the time or the hands to go through them all.

I went between holding her and pushing the cart one-handed, and making sure she stayed seated when in the cart. Either way was a struggle. I basically had one hand the whole time, which made bagging fresh fruits really difficult. Not to mention I couldn’t focus enough on why I was there to even take my list out of my purse, forgetting several main staples.

The absolute worst part of the trip, which is why I’m specifically saying I’ll never take her back to Aldi by myself, was checking out.

In order to get all my groceries onto the belt, I had to go to the back of the cart, obviously meaning I couldn’t leave Ava unbuckled and unattended at the front. I had to do it again one handed, with her “helping” remove each item I put down. A gracious woman offered to help, and I thought it was because she was a veteran new mom, and she was sympathetic… which still may be true, but afterwards I noticed she had like 5 items, and probably was in a hurry. Ava tried helping push all the buttons as I paid for my groceries, and fortunately the cashier thought she was adorable, because I was embarrassed and frustrated. Shopping shouldn’t be this hard. And have you tried bagging groceries yourself with a baby on your hip? Yeah, neither have I. I gave up trying and just went straight to the car. She went in her seat, and I could take care of the rest on my own. No help from baby. And with two hands.

I left Aldi and went to Wal-Mart to get the things Aldi didn’t have (along with the items I forgot the first time), and it was like a dream. So easy and smooth sailing. Not sure what made the difference, but it was by far much more enjoyable that Aldi.

I have a gBaby

Right after I graduated college, before I was married, I took care of a little boy several days a week, just for a few hours a day. When I started, he was around 4 months old, so out of the newborn stage but still just a little guy. His mom did things a certain way and I loved it all; everything from the homemade baby food to the chemical-free all-purpose cleaners she used. I was so impressed with her organic way of life, and certain parts of it stuck with me. The biggest thing I learned from his mom, though, has to be cloth diapering.

Before working for this family, I had no idea people still used cloth diapers. And when she told me about them, I was very skeptical. I didn’t want to deal with soggy diapers. Give me disposable and I’ll be done with them! But then I saw them. They aren’t soggy and gross. They aren’t difficult to deal with. They are actually cute!


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cloth diaper snob. I’ll be the first to tell you it isn’t for everyone. In fact, my mom doesn’t like using them, so she has her own stash of disposables she uses when she watches my baby. Ava actually wore disposables her first two weeks because she was too little for her smallest cloth size. Because we’ve used both, I feel like I can give a good review of both cloth and disposable. And by cloth, I mean the brand I use. There are so many different cloth brands, which is great because not every brand works for every baby. I am so thankful though that the brand we chose has worked so well for us.

Why we chose to use cloth diapers:
It’s plain and simple… It saves us a ton of money. When we found out we were having a baby, we were newlyweds, I had just started a new job, my hubs was still in college, and we had a ton of school debt (still do!). We considered the initial cost of cloth diapering and compared it to 2 years of disposables, and the difference was impressive. I think we spent a total of $350 on two sizes of cloth diapers and all the parts that go with them. I also made some of my own inserts, which helped, but it still wouldn’t have been much more that $400 had I not. Disposables were much much more.

I’ll go into more details later on why we use cloth. Honestly, the price was the initial spark that caught my eye, but it wasn’t the biggest benefit in my book once I learned more about them. I’ll also explain the pro’s and cons to both cloth and disposable, how our brand (gDiapers) work, and even a DIY on how we made those inserts ourselves. Oh, and I’ll also fill you in on what my hubby thinks of cloth.. After all, he’s the primary diaper changer around here!

Stay tuned!


How to soothe a teething baby

How to soothe a teething baby:

  1. You can’t.
  2. Nothing works.

But seriously, there are a few things that help Ava when her gums hurt, but no “cure-all” by any means. That would make parenting too easy, ha! Here are some of the techniques that we’ve used:

  • Cold/frozen teething ring – the cold numbs her gums and gives relief; however, it also numbs her lips and she only tolerates is for a short time
  • Cold washcloth – more gentle than the teether, so it may give relief longer. Ava also like sucking the cold water out of the washcloth. Not sure if she’s thirsty or if it feels good, but she’s content!
  • Baltic amber necklace – This is seriously awesome. It’s a natural way to make teething less painful… When the necklace touches warm skin, it releases Succinic Acid and reduces swelling.These come in necklace, bracelet, and anklet form, and are not to be chewed. You can find them on Bouncy Baby Boutique – this is where we bought Ava’s. It seems to work well, and she never messes with it. Best of all, we don’t need to use medicine! The biggest downside is that we have to take it off each time she goes down for a nap, because it is only supposed to be worn under supervision, and we often forget to put it back on her.
  • Tylenol – this is our go-to solution around bedtime. Ava gets especially fussy at night time, and it helps her sleep and sleep longer. Of course, if you have to do Tylenol, look for the dye-free version (they sell most places now, such at Target and Wal-Mart), and make sure you use the correct dosage for your baby.

Like I said, these help to an extent, but we haven’t found anything that works extremely long term. But I guess that’s just teething! Good thing they won’t remember it when it’s all over. It just stinks to see them so uncomfortable.


The Teething Monster

For those of you with babies who already have their first tooth, you know what to expect. Heck, I thought I knew what to expect too! I’ve read so many articles about teething, but for some reason it still caught me off guard.

Teeth appear for different babies at different ages… most around 4-7 months. So, as my baby reached 4 months, I began “seeing” symptoms of teething, like drooling, chewing and fussiness.

“Oh, she must be teething.”

I said this for about 6 months before I noticed the change. Even when you think you know what you’re looking for, actual teething is about 1,000,000 times worse. Those “symptoms” I saw before turned out to be just normal baby behavior. That’s a first time mom for ya!

About a month ago, Ava, who is now 11 months old, really began teething. She’s easily irritated at times. She uses my shoulder as a chew toy. The drool just flows from her mouth. It’s disgusting. Side note: she also just learned to give kisses. Adorable, but slimy and kinda gross. Trouble sleeping is another one of those symptoms I heard about back around 4 months, and I assumed Ava was just exempt from that. Psh. Nope. Our perfect sleeper has been having multiple-times-a-night scream fests. Thankfully it didn’t take us long to realize that precautionary Tylenol helped us all sleep better.

And what makes it all worse, is there are still no teeth. You can see a few just hanging out below her gum line, but they are just sitting there, torturing her. In fact, I started doubting her teeth were the problem!

Then I Googled teething babies. First of all, poor things! There are so many images of crying babies with red gums with 5+ teeth below the gum line at once. Which brings me to my next symptom I didn’t fully comprehend before: when the baby sources say babies will have red, swollen gums, they need to 1) include pictures and 2) point out that you can usually see the teeth below the gums! There’s no way I would have imagined that my baby’s gums could look like that. Yet there they are…

Teething Baby

It’s a bit hard to see here, but she’s got two bumps on the bottom. Poor girl. Someone told me that because she’s getting her first teeth at such an old age, that she will probably get several all at once. Which seems easier on babies… one or two at a time or 4+?

Stay tuned for my thoughts on how to make the teething monster a little more bearable.