Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peanut's First Christmas

This Christmas was very special, seeing as it was Peanut's very first one. She even woke up earlier than usual in anticipation, I'm sure, of opening her gifts!

We spent a relaxing morning opening gifts and eating a late breakfast. Peanut received a doll baby from her great-grandparents and a rattle, book and homemade quilt from Daddy C and Mommy C. The week before, she visited our extended family and received tons of gifts then as well- meaning her toy bin is officially overflowing! But this just means more for her to throw, which she is really enjoying right now!

After breakfast, we lounged around and watched It's a Wonderful Life (afterwards, I discovered this was to be the last video ever played in our VCR, as it had eaten up the tape! Such is the bane of modern technology.). We ended the day with a delicious dinner of homemade noodles, grilled chicken, peas, corn and baked potatoes!

This weekend, we will be visiting more family, but will have to travel by plane to get there. It will be Peanut's first plane ride! Mommy C doesn't know whether to be excited, nervous, worried or terrified of the prospect of traveling in air with a 6-month old teething baby, but she guesses she'll soon find out!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Traditions

The other day, Daddy C and I were discussing all the different Christmas traditions we wanted to start doing for Peanut. Knowing that she will grow up and remember this time of year in connection with certain events and traditions, we wanted to make them as meaningful as possible. Here are a few of the things we plan on doing each Christmas season!

  1. 3 gifts - In effort to prevent a materialist mindset for Christmas, we have set a limit of 3 gifts. We wanted to mimic the number of gifts Jesus received from the wisemen. I think this is a great tie-in to the Christmas story. However, it is proving difficult not to shower my little one with tons of gifts this year! But I am so happy with our decision to stick to this rule, as I think it will make a positive impression on her as she grows up and is older.

  2. Reading of the Christmas Story - My favorite version is in Luke 2. We plan on reading this story on Christmas Eve together as a family.

  3. Singing of favorite Christmas hymns - On Christmas day, I would love to have us sing our favorite Christmas songs. My favorite has always been 'O Holy Night' and Daddy C's is 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel'. Peanut hasn't had a chance to decide what her favorite is yet! Daddy C is incredibly gifted in vocals and guitar, so he will lead us in the family worship session.

That's all I have right now. I figure if we try to do too much at once it will be difficult to follow each year.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's on Our Menu this Week?

I used to be pretty diligent about menu planning, but having a baby can really throw everything off kilter! However, I am so glad I did this week, since we are practically snowed in with the winter weather madness.

Menu Plan week of 12/14

Tuesday: Roasted chicken, frozen veggies
To do: soak oatmeal, prepare stock

Wednesday: Chicken salad
To do: finish stock

Thursday: Homemade Chicken noodle soup
To do: soak flour

Friday: Homemade pizza
To do: bake 2 loaves of banana bread, pack snacks

Saturday: meal w/ family
To do: nothing

Sunday: Leftover chicken noodle soup from freezer
To do: soak oatmeal

Monday: Homemade hamburger helper
To do: nothing - focus on unpacking, laundry

On Saturday, we visited our local winter farmer's market and picked up a pastured chicken that I can't wait to roast. We'll be reaping the benefits of that chicken for several meals! I finally roasted my first chicken last week, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to just do it. I don't think I'll ever go back to the boneless, skinless breasts at the store - it was just too good!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

We here at the Campbell Castle are constantly evaluating every item we own, least it take up more precious space than is necessary. For the first time in 3 years, we realized we simply would not be able to fit in a full-sized Fraser fir Christmas tree this year. But we were ok with that. In fact, I am so happy we decided to just do a mini tree this year - it feels more personal and intimate and looks so much better. Here is a pic of Peanut posing by her very first Christmas tree:

We have since actually finished decorating it, showcasing only those ornaments that mean something to us. We have a pickle ornament, two snowmen in love, a sparkling pink bootie, a first Christmas ornament and a few homemade ones given to us from family members. I love our tree, because it makes everything feel so much simpler! We were also able to use the extra lights on our mantle, which really adds a festive glow in our apartment on dark winter evenings.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving was a bit chaotic for us, having traveled 3 hours to stay with family over the weekend. Thankfully, Peanut was such a good baby the whole time, and we didn't have to deal with any crying outbursts or major upsets. Everyone was amazed how different she was from her last visit, remarking that she was indeed a different baby now that her colic was gone.

Peanut got passed around like a hot potato, and she loved every minute of the attention from her adoring extended family. She posed gracefully in photo after photo and kept smiling through all the kisses. On Sunday, when I picked her up from the church nursery, the nursery worker commented, "Oh. The Smiling Baby!"

It was a good visit, and despite my worries of unwarranted advice, all was well. I'm beginning to realize I truly am a first-time parent though, and perhaps my concerns make me seem a bit uptight at times. I can only pray for others to give me grace in this regard, as I am learning more and more each day what it truly means to be a mother and how to parent a growing child. I need the Lord's guidance now more than ever, and I am seeking that out with an open heart.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Advice

I can't believe it's already the week of Thanksgiving! Time sure has snuck up on us, and Peanut will soon be chowing down on turkey and mashed potatoes. (Ok, well, maybe not turkey and mashed potatoes, more like breast milk! - hopefully)

We will be traveling to my original hometown for Peanut's first Thanksgiving, and I think she will be smothered by all her extended relatives who are anxious to see her.

What I'm not looking forward to...
  • "Are you STILL breastfeeding?!"
  • "She's still hungry, give her a bottle!"
  • "Why is she crying, she shouldn't be doing that" (after being handled for 2.5 hrs and needing a nap)
  • "She's not sleeping through the night YET? Something must be wrong, give her some cereal!"
  • "She's not bundled up enough. It's 50 degrees outside, she should wear a snowsuit!"
  • "You aren't giving her cereal? She needs it."
  • "Here, give her a spoonful of cranberry sauce. See if she likes it!"
  • "I don't think she's eating enough."
  • "She should be going 5 hours in between feedings by now."
  • ect. ect. ect.

My family does mean well, but sometimes advice and comments like the above are exhausting and demeaning. This is just the beginning of the holiday season (we will also be traveling for Christmas and New Years), so I guess I better get used to it quick.

So here's a reader question of the day - How do you handle unwanted advice and comments from relatives who disagree with your parenting choices?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roll-y Poll-y

Peanut has really gotten the hang of rolling! Just look at this picture, and know that I originally put her down in the middle of that blankie. Barely 10 minutes had transpired when I returned to find my daughter completely on the other side! She gives me a look as if to say, "Well, you didn't really expect me to stay put did you?!"
This roll-y poll-y-ness means I can no longer leave her on the bed unattended. Even if she is in the center of the bed, surrounded by pillows and a sea of blankets. Ask me how I know! She must also be properly strapped into her swing and bouncy and placed far away from sharp table legs when on the floor least she knock her head into the side and leave an unattractive mark for others to wonder about.
Although many parents are no ready for their little one to roll and crawl, I am loving this stage in Peanut's life. Her colic is gone, and she is playful and content for longer periods of time. She grabs her feet and reaches for toys, which make playing with her so much more enjoyable. She even notices the cats and will stare at them for long periods of time as they make their way across the room (although they have learned to stay away from here unless they want a tiny hand firmly grasping their ears, tail and fur!).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Breastfeeding Lessons

Last week I took Peanut to her 4 month checkup. She weighed a whopping 12 lbs! Although I thought this was pretty good for her, her doctor advised me to see a lactation consultant since she seemed to have dropped down on the weight charts. I had been worried for the past couple of weeks that my supply had dropped, so I was not surprised to hear this. The next day, I went ahead and scheduled a visit with the LC.

Peanut definitely wasn't taking in as much as she could, after being weighed both before and after feedings, so the LC advised me on ways to get my supply back up to par. She gave me this delicious tea, Mother's Milk, which I was to drink 3 times daily. I also was instructed to pump more often and offer each breast for a feeding (I had previously only been offering Peanut one at a time since she had seemed satisfied in the beginning from it).

After a week of nursing nonstop, drinking tea and pumping, I went back in to see how much Peanut weighed and if my supply had gone up. Well, she gained a full 4 oz in that week! AND she got 2x as much milk as last week in a feeding! I was so happy! And Peanut surely was too!

I'm proud of each moment that I am able to continue breastfeeding and that I have made it this far (4.5 months) without having to supplement with formula. However, because my mother and grandmother did not breastfeed, I don't have a close support network to draw from concerning this issue. I am thankful I was able to visit with an LC who could give me some much needed insight on things! Support, I am realizing, is extremely important for a successful breastfeeding experience. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who supports me wholeheartedly in this endeavor!

Here's to more successful breastfeeding milestones I hope to meet in the future!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cutie in Cloth

Before Peanut was born, I had full intentions on cloth diapering. It seemed so eco-friendly, not to mention cost effective. But then, I discovered the drugstore diaper deals, and I realized that I could get packs of diapers regularly for under $4 a pack! It's been wonderful to not have to spend too much money on disposables, but since I did purchase some basic prefolds, I figured I had better at least give them a try.

So below is Peanut modeling a basic pre-fold diaper fastened with a snappie. So cute! She is also wearing a nylon cover (this is very BASIC cloth diapering folks!). I know there are many other all-in-one cloth diapers out there, but at $10-20 a pop, these prefolds just fit our budget much better. I tried to time this first attempt after she already pooed, so we'll see how it goes!

UPDATE: Cloth diapering is much easier than I thought it would be! Peanut didn't seem to mind her new diaper at all! The cover, although very basic, didn't leak at all and I was surprised to see how wet the prefold had gotten in the 2 or so hours she wore it. It was really easy to just toss it all in the wetbag and put another one on her. I resued the cover since it was still dry. The only downside was that I think she wasn't used to feeling a little bit wet, and this might have cut the one nap she took while in it a bit short. Other than that, I loved it! It's a great feeling knowing you don't have to run out and get diapers at the last minute since you always have some on hand!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Droughts and Debts

We've been busy these past few weeks over at the Campbell Castle. Now that we've paid off our first student loan, we are anxious to knock out the second one and so have been re-evaluating our budget, selling some unwanted furniture and brainstorming opportunities to save more money. Meanwhile, our pantry and fridge are getting a makeover as we hit up local farms weekly to stock up on local grown food and produce. And, as I'm sure many of you are busy doing, we're savoring the bit of fall that has finally come our way!

For months we've been in a drought around here with excessive temperatures breaking records daily. In fact, even though it is nearing the end of October, we have yet to turn on our heat and have even had the AC running quite a few days this month! But after nearly 6 months of summer temperatures, it seems the air is finally settling down to a more reasonable level, and I am so thankful for that!

Friday, October 15, 2010

On a Roll... with Butter!

For the past month or two, Peanut has been unsuccessfully attempting to roll over. There were times we were sure she would do it, but then she'd put her head down on the blanket and give up. A couple of times, the attempt wore her out so intensely, she would fall asleep right there on her tummy!

Friday afternoon (Oct. 8), however, she gave me a nice surprise, and I almost missed it! As I was preparing lunch in the kitchen, I poked my head around the corner to check on Peanut. I saw her supporting herself on her arms all the way up with one foot high in the air, I cheered her on, saying 'you almost have it!' but thinking she wouldn't actually do it. Then with a plop! she was on her back!

Of course I immediately started screeching with excitement, and she began giggling at my reaction. It's so wonderful to be able to see her firsts, however little they may be!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Camping Baby

This past weekend we were finally able to go camping with Peanut. Daddy C and Mommy C were particularly excited, especially since our last attempt to go camping ended up being a 2-hr trial after she started crying her eyes out and would not stop. But now that she's a bit older (3.5 months to be exact), we figured she might be able to handle the great outdoors a little better.

We found the perfect camping site just 40 minutes from where we live, so if things did indeed turn sour, we could always turn right back around and be home pretty soon. In our city, there's a forest just on the outskirts of town with peaceful, wooded, primitive camping - just what we love! Our site was well secluded from other sites, and there weren't any RVs, large bathhouses or busy roads to distract us. Just nature and the Campbells. :D
Almost as soon as we got there, Daddy C started collecting firewood and got a fire going. He has become quite adept at getting a fire started after many failed attempts! We decided to have hot dogs, zucchini and tortilla chips. Because what's camping without junk food like hot dogs?
Peanut loved the fire. She just kept staring at it like it was perhaps the most fascinating thing she had ever witnessed. I guess, considering the girl has never seen fire before, it probably was!
The weather was perfect in the evening - not too cool but not warm enough that you couldn't enjoy sitting by the fire. Just the right temperature for a light jacket. Peanut was cozy in her blankie and later we put her in her sleep suit, which was even cozier.

After she finally went to sleep, Mommy C and Daddy C got to enjoy the fire by themselves for a bit until the last ember finally went out. Then we snuggled into our spacious new tent with a blow-up mattress and a snoozing Peanut. We all slept well that night.
Until about 4am. When the planes came.
Why didn't someone tell us we were only a couple miles from the airport?! The planes must have been coming in for the day, since one takeoff after another lasted for about an hr and half straight. I got little sleep during this time, but Peanut was sleeping, dare I say, like a baby! Even Daddy C managed to roll over and ignore the hard sounds of plane engines.

When we woke up at 7am, like usual, we were all relatively well-rested though and ready for an adventurous day. Peanut woke up smiling as if to say, "I guess I'm a camping baby after all!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sew Pretty and Chic

It's officially been years since I've touched my sewing machine. Although I was the girl who made her own prom dresses and delightedly dabbled in designing, sewing took a backseat once I left for college.

But this last week, I did sometime wacky. I dusted off that baby and ripped some seams! In effort to make our home decor more seasonal appropriate, I crafted up some pillowcases for my throw pillows. Cost per pillow? $2. Cost per Hobby-Lobby pre-crafted pillow? $25. Time spent sewing after years of rustiness? 3 hours. Savings per hour? $38. Huzzah!

This was even accomplished amongst a frantically fussy Peanut, who had no idea what her Mamma was doing and why she was being confined to her bouncy seat. Behold, the lengths one woman will go to in effort to save money for her family and still have a nice looking home!

And since my readers may be wondering how we're doing on paying down our pesky debt, I'll let you in on a little secret:

We paid off our first student loan!

Double huzzah!

Although we still have 3 other loans looming on the horizon, paying off that first one, no matter how small, feels fantastic.

And so, I think I just might whip out that sewing machine more often!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Peanut and Pumpkins!

This weekend, Peanut got to experience for the very first time in her life, how pumpkins are grown and picked fresh from a working farm.

She loved the smell of the hay on the hayride over to the pumpkin patch. Everyone thought she looked pretty cute in her jeans. Don't you just love babies in jeans? And hoodies?!

While there, Mommy C got quite a few gourds to decorate her porch with, as well as some mini pumpkins and a large pot of brilliant purple colored mums.

Peanut enjoyed watching Mommy and Daddy C chow down on grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. We caught her eyeing the tractor, so she went on a tractor ride too! Good thing it was all free!

The weather was perfect, and Peanut managed to find the best pumpkin in the entire patch at the farm! She had her Daddy cut it though, since it was a little heavy for her little arms.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Peanut's First Hike!

This weekend, we decided it was time for Peanut to take her first hike. The weather had finally cooled down a notch to make this possible, so off we went! Daddy C carried Peanut in her Moby Wrap. She loved looking around at all the wonderful things to see!

We passed a beautiful lake lined with cattails...

Leaves are finally start to change color around here...

It was such a sunny day! There were plenty of fishermen trying their luck at the lake...

By the end of the hour-long hike, Peanut had had enough of nature!

Peanut also turned 3 months on Sunday! We think she is definitely ready to start exploring the outdoors with Mommy and Daddy C. In a couple weeks, we're all going camping in the new family tent. Hopefully she will be as good of a camper as she is hiker!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3-Month Growth Spurt from You-Know-Where

Peanut isn't quite 3 months, but that hasn't stopped her from wanting to grow like the rest of them! Last Thursday, she stopped sleeping and started eating. And eating. And not sleeping. And eating.

Although her sleeping patterns were all skewed due to her vacation to the nation's capitol over Labor Day weekend, this was worse then a skewed sleeping pattern. This was week 1 all over again.

Peanut would only go to sleep for 45 minutes to 1.5 hrs at a time. Eventually she got to the point where she could not sleep at all unless she was simentaneously eating! This meant Peanut shared the bed with Mommy C and Daddy C as Mommy C tried desperately to keep up with Peanut's demands to constantly nurse. The result was 4 days of hardly any sleep for her parents, save an hr at a time, which usually was interrupted by Peanut kicking and squirming and punching her mama in the stomach due to her verocious appetite!

I will admit I had a breakdown at this point. I thought something must be seriously wrong with my child. Poor Peanut was exhausted with the rest of us. And her incessant crying was maddening.

I fully contemplated running away for a month or two! Then we realized what it all was- the DREADED 3 MONTH GROWTH SPURT. I swear she grew like an inch over the course of 4 days!

But then, just as soon as it had began, it stopped. And Monday night, Peanut slept soundly once more, only waking to eat during her normal hours.

And Mommy C (AKA Zombie Mommy) breathed a sigh of extreme relief, thanking God it was over.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday Best

Yesterday we went to church, and I dressed little Peanut and myself up to make a good impression. Since it was the first day of our new membership classes, we would be meeting quite a few people, and so, Peanut needed to look adorable :D. I put her in a cute dress with a matching giant flower headband. And since I knew I might have to NIP (nurse in public), I wore a nice nursing tank with a white sweater.

We ended up being a tad bit late to the service, but that's pretty much how all of our life is now that Peanut is here! Our church is rather large (sanctuary can sit over 10,000 or something like that), and we normally sit in the second balcony so I can slip away with Peanut if need be.

Well, as you can guess and probably already see this coming, I did need to slip out. Just a few moments after the sermon had started, I finished nursing Peanut and had her sitting in my lap. She was sucking on her fingers and very content. Daddy C and Mommy C were extremely proud of their little baby!

Then, the explosion happened. Oh, yes.

I quickly walked out of the sanctuary and looked around for the family restroom. I didn't see it, so I peered through the women's restroom searching for a changing table. However, there was none to be found. Desperate, I popped into the cry-room and asked other parents for directions to the family restroom, which I KNEW had a changing table in it. It had to, right?

A particular lady was very helpful, and she walked me to it (which just so happened to be right in front of the women's restroom, meaning I must have been blind not to have seen it!). She was quite kind and asked me if I needed any help. Since I only needed to change a diaper (I was unaware that it had exploded at this point), I though this strange and replied, 'No, thank you!'. But as I shut the door and turned to face the mirror, I discovered a horrific discovery and the reason why she had offered to help.

Poop was everywhere.

All over Peanut. All over me!

I stood there, feeling completely helpless for a couple of seconds, wondering how on earth I was going to be able to clean this gigantic mess up.

My white sweater was covered in yellow poo. So was Peanut's dress, and bloomers, and socks, and bib, and hands, and feet and stomach- you get the picture.

And if you were wondering, YES, she was wearing the dreaded HUGGIES (I had so many in my stockpile that were free, I figured maybe they wouldn't be so bad- WRONG!!)

And no, there wasn't a changing table! So I had to plop Peanut next to the sink.

Luckily, I had worn a black tank top, so although it was soaked after being scrubbed to death in attempt to rid it of all poo smell, you couldn't really tell. And luckily, I had a plastic baggie to put all the poo covered clothing in until we could get home to wash it properly. I ended up having to wash Peanut's whole body under the running facet and dried her off with paper towels. It took me the remainder of the church service to get both her and I cleaned up and somewhat presentable for our class that was to follow. But I still smelled like baby poo.

Peanut must have sensed how distressing this whole episode was, because she was perfectly content for the rest of the time we were at church. People didn't seem to notice she was once a poo-covered-baby either, although I'm quite certain they probably thought, 'Hmmm, that baby sure smells funky....'

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peanut reaches 11 weeks!

Peanut has been keeping me busy, so I don't have a lot of time to post. But Saturday, she turned 11 weeks old! Here she is:

I hope to resume a regular posting schedule soon!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Peanut's Aunty Graduates and The Near-Suffocation-Encounter

Peanut has so many extended family members. One of her favorites is Aunty who lives in Columbus. Aunty graduated this past weekend, and Peanut was so excited to see her get her diploma. I told Daddy C that would be Peanut one day, but he said 'not anytime soon!'.

She was good on the ride down and slept the entire time. Once she got there, however, she was a fussybutt, and I resorted to constantly nursing her to keep her from causing a scene. (I've gotten quite adept at nursing in public these days!). Grandma 1 helped out a bit but was busy trying to catch glimpses of Aunty through the stadium doors. Grandma 2 couldn't get over how cute Peanut was in her bonnet and booties and frilly dress and so had to call Aunty who lives in Washington DC to tell her and give her live updates on the other Aunty's graduation.

During the first nursing episode, I found a chair in a lounge so I could latch Peanut on. I have this excellent nursing cover to shield myself from view and prevent any boob exposure. Well, one of the staff members who was helping direct traffic saw me and Peanut. She walked right up to me and exclaimed in an outraged voice, "She's suffocating!!"

This old lady (and why, my dear friends, is it ALWAYS the older ladies?!) proceeded to tell me Peanut was uncomfortable and that 'so many people get carried away with that!'.

Uh, ok.

First, why would I suffocate my own child in public? And second, why would Peanut be uncomfortable when she is sucking happily away and cooing in contentment? And thirdly, WHO DOES THIS LADY THINK SHE IS?!?

No answer needed.

I stared that lady down like I was going to pounce on her. She got the picture and quickly walked away. I moved to another lounge. All was peaceful in the end. Aunty got her diploma and Peanut survived the nursing-cover-suffocation incident without a scratch. But older ladies should watch out- I've got my eye on them!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peanut's First Triathlon!

This past weekend, we took Peanut on her first road trip to Springfield, OH where Daddy C competed in his first Spring Triathlon (which he kicked butt at!). She did very good on the way down and promptly slept the entire way. Since this was the first time much of our extended family had seen her, she definitely needed the sleep! Upon arrival at Grandma 2's, she was showered with affection (perhaps a wee bit too much!) by aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Peanut was surprised to discover she had so many family members!

Although her naps were all over the place (ok, non-existant), Peanut did very well. At night, she slept like a pea in her travel bed, which I, Mommy C, was worried about. This is good news since next week we are going on vacation and she will not be sleeping in her crib for 5 nights! I know, what are we thinking?! Thus, the Springfield trip served as a trial run.

Peanut has been traveling since she was 2 days old, so I guess she is used to it. She always does well in the car, in fact, there have been many times when Daddy C and I have taken her for a ride in order to get her to sleep at night! (Shhh, don't tell!). It was fun to be around family, and I am glad Peanut has so many admirers. I'm so happy she is such a good little travel-bug.

Although, I have to say, she does have quite a bit of luggage. But that's another story...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Great Awakening

Yesterday I woke up only to find Peanut lying sideways at the bottom of her crib. She is such a wiggle worm- I don't understand how she managed to break free of the sleep position-er (which wasn't moved at all) and scurry herself not only a foot and a half away but turn herself perfectly sideways in the process. I should have taken a picture, and I would have, had it not been for the fact that I smelled pee. Yes, pee.

As soon as I picked her up, I took in the damage. The crib sheets were soaked, as was her SwaddleMe and PJs. I quickly carried her over to the changing table and undressed the poor thing. That's when I made the horrific discovery. She was in a NEWBORN diaper, not a size 1! The diaper was actually halfway off her butt because of her sliding around and the fact that it was way too small for her.

Now, in case you blame me for such a terrible mistake, please be aware that Daddy C is in charge of night-time diaper duty. He really must have been tired during this one, because the old newborn sized diapers were right next to the size 1 diapers. His defense? "I couldn't find the right size, so I had to put her in that one!". Um...Ok. Well, he does have a hard time seeing whenever he takes his contacts out for the night...

Back to the diaper change. I gently removed the soiled and scrunched up diaper and began wiping poor Peanut's bottom. As I reached for a new diaper, that's when it happened. Yes, the mothers who are reading this know exactly what I'm talking about. Thank goodness I removed my hand in time! Peanut had let loose, and instead of being covered in old pee, she now was covered in the fresh stuff as well as a nice batch of yellow, seedy poo.

I stood there for about 2 minutes trying to figure out what to do.

Finally I realized she would have to be bathed, because who wants poop smeared all over them all day long? So Peanut had her bath, and I then proceeded to add a mountain of fresh dirty laundry on top of the already Everest-high pile.

And that, my friends, is what I like to refer to as 'The Great Awakening'.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Peanut's Extraordinary Nap Routine

Any parent of a young child knows how important naps are to ensure quality sleep at night. Whenever Peanut gets plenty of rest throughout the day, she then bestows upon herself, and us, a long night of continuous sleep. The challenge lies in getting her to take her naps each day. Enter, nap routine.

This routine was discovered upon by accident. Last week I wore her in the moby wrap (Peanut's favorite place to be) to a new moms group one afternoon. It was time for her nap, and after eating, she screamed for about 3 minutes before conking out. I found this strange, but I kept it in mind for other days. Maybe putting her in the moby wrap would help get her to sleep when she was supposed to?

I tried it the next day, and it worked then too. I did it again, and it worked a third time. Then, over the weekend, I thought it would be fun for Peanut to listen to some music (Stevie Nicks). Little did I know, she was tired and ready for a nice long slumber. I danced around with her in the moby wrap, and in an instant, she was out! Who knew music could have such a sedative effect on newborns? Or at least, this one...

So, whenever Peanut shows signs of tiredness, I gently pick her up and plop her in the moby wrap, turn on some Stevie Nicks, and dance with her for a minute before she turns limp like a log. And strange as it may be, I'm sticking with this routine, because, hey, it works and Mommy C needs her sleep too.

What kind of nap routines (if any) do you have for your baby?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not all diapers are created equal...

Due to my uncanny ability to unearth good deals on diapers during the last months of my pregnancy, we have quite the stash under Peanut's crib. I'm not brand loyal to much of anything, the lowest price generally gets my attention, so we've used several diaper brands on Peanut.

The first ones were Luvs, which worked quite well, until she outgrew them. Next, we tried out the Target-brand diapers, which, although a bit more roomy, proved to result in fewer diaper blowouts. We've also used Pampers here and there (I had an odd assortment of free samples), but the super-absorbency of these preemies made it difficult to tell when she had peed. Now, I'm just getting into my Huggie's stash. And I've come to the conclusion- I HATE Huggies.

Now, given that Huggies diapers are more expensive (regular-priced, not Mommy C-priced) than either Luvs or the Target brand diapers, this comes as a shock. I don't know why they think making diapers super snug, fitting almost like underwear, will be good for babies. Especially babies that tend to let loose with such force their parents have resorted to yelling, 'Release the Cracken!' every time she relieves herself. The inevitable result is poo spilling out from all sides, seeping onto all sorts of pretty outfits Mommy C proudly put together, often just moments ago. And usually, she is being held during these times of tiny explosions, meaning Mommy C or Daddy D end up covered in the poo as well, forcing them to change into a new outfit of their own.

The result of all these Huggie blowouts is that I have a never-ending volume of laundry to attend to each day. What used to be one load a week before Peanut was born has morphed into one load a day. This gets complicated quickly considering I usually forget to turn a load over or don't have time to fold the finished load from the day before. And although a distant memory chants, "sort the whites, separate the colors, add the bleach, apply stain remover", my frazzled self does not stop to listen. Which results in more problems since poor Peanut now has ample amounts of poo stained clothing in shades of yellow-orange.

So, although I may occasionally pick up a package of Huggies Diapers in the future, they certainly don't make the Campbell Household Hall of Brands. Choose your diaper wisely!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Welcome Peanut Campbell!

At 6 weeks old, I think I've finally started to figure out what makes Baby Campbell tick. Oh, wait, I didn't update you all on our sweet little addition? Our beautiful baby girl, whom I will be referring to as Peanut, was born on June 26th 2010 weighing 7lbs and measuring 21 inches long. She was two days late, and I think she just liked keeping us on our toes. My labor was 7 hours long, but I had days (no, correction, WEEKS) of early labor. I was blessed with the wonderful experience of back labor (shudder), whereupon I finally succumbed to an epidural. To read more about Peanut's birth story, visit my pregnancy blog.
The first 6 weeks were rough. I'm not going to sugarcoat it and lie about having nervous breakdowns in the wee hours of the night as our tiny newborn practiced exercising her new found lungs. Or about the struggles with breastfeeding and concerns about not having enough milk. Or about the countless trips to the pediatrician because our little peanut had developed some nasty jaundice that required photo-therapy under a light box.

Sore nipples and depleted pocketbook aside, things have been going quite well with our new family. Daddy C, although difficult to wake in the middle of the night, has become a pro at giving Peanut evening baths and lotion rub downs. We've really enjoyed showing off our precious baby girl to family and friends, although Mommy C gets really tired of strangers asking the same questions over and over while momentously sticking their noses and germy breath in Peanut's face. (Although, I've discovered that people are less likely to try and touch Peanut while she is snuggled safely in the Moby wrap with only her head poking out. If people try to touch her, they would end up touching my face too, which no one wants to do, so they leave be.)

Last week she started smiling, which just makes you want to smile too. After weeks of scrunching up her face in various distorted expressions, a smile reminds us that she is indeed, a person of her own who actually likes us, despite our uncanny ability to knock her around and move her out of comfy positions while she is sleeping.

Life as a new mom has been interesting, and I have a feeling things are only going to get even more interesting from here on out. Stay tuned for more updates from the Campbell Castle, adorable photos of Peanut and counts of horrific discoveries inside diapers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Menu Planning on a Budget

Most people these days are not made of money. With the recession in full swing, and as our national debt rises, it seems everyone is pinching pennies (Well, they're at least taking a double look at price tags). Baby Campbell is certainly taking a tole on our monthly budget, so we have to be diligent in many areas to ensure we stick to the plan. Our student loans are not going to pay themselves (though, think of how nice that would be if they did!).

Enter menu planning. I'll be honest, I used to love menu planning (of course, I also used to enjoy vacuuming, but that's another story...), but I sort of dread it now. It's much harder since we are trying to eat a real food diet. I'm still trying to come up with budget-friendly and healthy recipes we both can enjoy. But as much as I pout about it, we couldn't do without those weekly menu plans. Sometimes, it's the only thing that keeps us from eating out every other night or spending a fortune at the grocery store. It takes away the confusion of what to eat. In short, it saves us time and lots of money.

I thought I would post a sample menu plan for our family. Here's a list of this week's dinners:

-Rice and beans taco w/ salsa
-Sausage, Potatoes and Peas Casserole
-Homemade Pizza
-Shredded chicken sandwiches w/ frozen veggies (boxed)
-Mashed Potatoes w/ Corn on the Cob and Zucchini
-White Cheddar Mac and Cheese w/ carrots and peas
-Open/date night

So. There you have it. The Campbell family menu. AKA Our-Budget-Lifesaver.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby C's Nursery

Yesterday I was hard at work getting Baby C's nursery together. We don't have a whole bunch of stuff for this baby, but I like it that way since it keeps things simple and clutter to a minimum. The only items we have bought thus far are the crib and the changing table. Since we fully expect lots of Campbell kids, we wanted to get those new. We didn't pay much for them either- the crib was $79 at IKEA and the matching changing table was $40.

My mom gave me her rocking chair (it was a wedding gift to her from my grandparents), which I love. We already had the canoe-shaped bookshelf (it used to be in our old living room). Most of the books we bought at a library book sale where we filled a resuable bag with used children's books for only $4. The storage drawers used to be in our closets, but they don't fit in our new apartment's closet, so we are using them as a dresser for the baby. The filing cabinet really didn't have a home, so I just put it in here and will use the drawers for more storage.

Sometime this week, we plan on making some shelving for the walls. We have an old tabletop from an IKEA desk that we are going to cut into shelves. It cost less than a $1 for a set of shelving brackets at Home Depot, so it's a nice frugal project! I am going to spray paint the shelves white.

I packed some more items in the hospital bag, and I also organized the diaper bag. I feel much more prepared for baby C's arrival! The only things left to do is freeze a few more meals, install the carseat and purchase a few more non-necessary but nice-to-have items (diaper genie, baby monitor, bouncy seat, moby wrap- purchased 2nd hand of course). I plan on tackling these tasks this week!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Saving Moola

Daddy C and I try to save money whenever we can. One of the ways I save money is shopping with coupons and taking advantage of store loyalty programs. I heart CVS. It's where all my fabulous deals happen. I go there weekly and rarely spend more than 2 or 3 bucks. Today, I managed to come out like a bandit once again and spent 24 cents. I bought a big bottle of men's body wash- it was on sale for $4 and I got $4 back in a store coupon to use next week. I paid with my coupons earned last week, so I only had to pay tax. Happy me!

I also save money shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill. Growing up, I didn't have much money, so I used to do most of my back-to-school shopping there. People thought I was crazy, but where else could you get a new-to-you wardrobe for under $50?! Today, I hit up our local Goodwill (which isn't nearly as nice as our old Goodwill) and managed to snag a few items- a nice work shirt for Daddy C and an elastic waistband, knee-length summer skirt for myself. All for under 5 bucks! You would be amazed at the things you can find at Goodwill. Once, Daddy C and I found 3 brand-new Banana Republic dress shirts with the tags still on them. They were regularly priced at over $100 each but we bought them for a dollar!

My final adventure of the day included making a price book. I've never seriously price-booked at my grocery stores before, so it's really interesting to see the differences. I made a list of all the common items we buy (rice, beans, canned and frozen veggies, pastas, flour, yeast etc...) and wrote down their prices at each grocery store (Kroger, Wal-mart, Whole Foods). I was shocked to discover how much bread flour was at Kroger compared to Wal-mart and how drastically the same brand of baking soda differed at each one. I've seen Arm & Hammer baking soda priced as low as 47 cents and as high as a dollar. You might not think those little price differences matter much, but little things add up!

Why the focus on saving money everywhere we can? Well, Daddy C and I took out some student loans like most average Joes, and now we have to pay them back. We're trying to do it quickly so we can save for a down-payment on a house. Dave Ramsey is our financial guru of choice, and if you've ever heard of him, you probably know how much he hates debt. So we hate debt too. And getting rid of it is priority. That's why every penny counts! Plus. I consider it good stewardship to make the most of what you have.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mallards and Ducklings

We're fortunate to live right next to a beautiful nature park. I like to ramble the walking trails, soaking up as much nature as possible. I can't wait to take baby C on walks there and point out all the little discoveries to him or her. Please enjoy a short photographic tour of our 'backyard'!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Apartment Vegetable Gardening

I'm a plant lover. I spend part of my days writing about gardening, yet I've never had the opportunity to plant my own. This is due to the lack of outdoor space in the Campbell household. But now that we have a fabulous little balcony that receives a fair amount of sun, I am determined to create one!

To start off with, I planted a tomato plant, zucchini plant, cilantro and some inpatients. I think they look lovely, and I can't wait until they start to bear fruit.

I choose to plant more vegetables than flowers, because Mommy C is frugal and thrifty at heart. I'm hoping these veggies will provide fresh produce for Daddy C and Baby C. We like to buy organic, and that can get expensive. By growing our own, I'll save us some cash (that is, unless something dreadful happens to them)!

The cost of the veggies were just slightly more than what I would pay at the store for them: $5 for the tomato plant, $3 for cilantro and $2 for zucchini. I also had to buy the pots, but hopefully that's a one-time purchase (provided the Campbell cats do not break them :-/)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Countdown to Motherhood

In just a few weeks, I'll officially be a mother. Baby Campbell is due June 23rd, 2010. I would appreciate him or her not to be late. Even though we may call ourselves 'The Late Campbells', I really don't think it becomes our child to take upon that trait. We would like for him or her to be 'The Slightly Early Campbell' or 'The On Time Campbell'. But really, whenever he or she makes their entrance, we'll be thrilled nonetheless. Or petrified. Whichever you prefer.

This blog is about mothering- specifically, mothering that is done via a blindfold. Why a blindfold? Because I am going about this blindly, having no experience whatsoever, unable to see ahead a few days at a time. I'm taking things as they come, and I have no idea what I'm doing. Rest assured, I will be trying my best. But don't count on perfection, folks!

A little background about our family, the Campbells: Daddy Campbell met Mommy Campbell (who at the time was not a Campbell, but very soon would realize the importance of becoming one) at college. It was love at first sight. No, really. The stuff from storybooks. There was never any doubt how much Mommy C and Daddy C loved each other. After 9 months of dating, Daddy C proposed while on a picnic by a pond under a huge oak tree. 5 months later, Mommy C officially became a Campbell.

Daddy C and Mommy C still had to finish school, so they were your typical poor college students until that was over. They lived in a 3rd floor walk-up apartment in a quaint little town they adopted as their own. The kitchen did not have any counter space and the boiler heater occasional would break in the cold, winter months. After 5 months of fresh marriage, they decided it was time to begin expanding the family. They looked on craigslist and adopted a kitten, whom they named Mrs. Weasley. Shortly after, they moved into a larger apartment with better heating and a few feet of counter space.

Mommy C graduated one semester ahead of Daddy C, so she started writing part-time and took upon the responsibility of full-time homemaker. Daddy C was a little unmotivated when he begun college, so it was taking him longer to get his degree. During this time, they expanded their family once more. Mommy C's aunt convinced her to take in an abandoned kitten. They drove to the country and picked her up, rightfully naming her Luna Lovegood.

As Daddy C completed his final semester of schooling, Mommy C discovered their family was not done growing just yet. She went in the bathroom with a little stick and came out with interesting results. Mommy C was pregnant! It was quite an emotional time discovering this piece of news, and immediately the word spread that there would soon be a Baby Campbell.

During her pregnancy, Mommy C battled intense morning sickness but was aided by the use of sea-bands and crackers. She and Daddy C also decided to move out of their quaint little town after Daddy C had graduated. They did not have many friends in the small town, and Daddy C had more opprotunities for his job in a different city. So, they stuffed the cats into their carriers (which, mind you, took the better part of 2 hours as they scampered away, running in circles inside an empty apartment), and traveled an hour and a half away back to Daddy C's hometown. They moved into another apartment with even more counter-space and better heating. They even had a tiny balcony they could call their own (well, as long as they continued paying rent!).

Now, two months later, Mommy C is getting tired of being pregnant. Daddy C has a new job downtown, which he commutes to everyday. And Luna Lovegood and Mrs. Weasley have declared the not-yet-completed nursery as their own.

More fun facts about the Campbells:
  • We're thrifty and are trying to pay off our student loans in two to three years
  • We love the outdoors and are usually spotted camping across the nation (or just our state)
  • We like to backpack in the wilderness and plan to introduce Baby Campbell to it as soon as possible
  • We love books, the library and literature
  • We try to cook all our meals at home and don't like preservatives
  • We like to go out for ice-cream
  • Daddy C is an aspiring tri-athlete and Mommy C enjoys running (when not pregnant, of course!)
  • We try to keep our 'stuff' to a minimum (although this is partly out of necessity from living in a small space)
  • We're Christians who love discovering God's goodness in life