Sunday, August 12, 2012

Two Boys in One Room: Transition to the Big Bed

Written July 2012:

Poor Rowan.  We're always changing things up on him.

Yesterday, Roger and I went to Ikea to pick up the bed we decided on the other day. As with most things Ikea, the assembly took longer than we anticipated and we ended up finishing pretty late, with Rowan underfoot {well, more like all over the place}.

Besides helping us with all the screws, Rowan was so excited for his new bed that he couldn't help but jump and climb on it as we were putting it together.

Rowan helping put his bed together

 Perspective:  It's amazing how little Rowan looks now!

 Dad and Rowan looking up at the "stars"

By the end of the evening, we had both the crib {converted back to a crib} AND the Rowan's twin sized bed all set up in the room, and we also had one crazy-happy little boy!...who was trying his best to hide it, but was falling over with sleepiness.  And of course, he had already figured out all the things we didn't want him to figure out about the bed just yet in less than 10 to climb the ladder, and how to get onto the changing table from the bed.....oh boy.

We had to get the final spacing situated.  It was a bit of a puzzle and everything didn't fit quite how I had imagined it in my mind. But we don't have too many options. The location of windows/outlets in the walls of their room isn't ideal for the short term crib and bed situation, so the room feels a little cramped.  Not everything has a perfect place, but it works for now.

Finally, we were done and it was time for the real test. {lemme tell you, after another long day for us, we were looking at each other pretty worried about what the night would bring}. 

Roger put Rowan to bed and read a long story {Oh, The Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss}.

Good night.

Lights out.

Shut the door.

He got up a couple times and we had to put him back in bed, but then he slept until 6:10 am!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Two Boys in One Room: A Weekend Away

With all the goings on, I've been bad about getting posts up on the topic of getting our toddler into a big bed, but here's a little catch up.

After my last post, we took a vacay weekend to visit Opa in Carmel.  After a fun day, Opa and Shelley watched the boys while Roger and I had a night out on the town {ahhh, so nice!}. 

We've traveled with Rowan before and always bring a Pack N Play for him to sleep in.  Everything was going great until about 2:30am, when he began to SCREAM at the top of his lungs, until we would get up and lay him back down.  Right as we crawled back in bed, there he went again.  This lasted until about 4:30 or 5:00 am.  UUUUUGH.  It was a long night.  Luckily, he only kept us up.

The next day was all about a bunch of fun in the pool :)

When we got home, we mentally prepared for another rough night in the toddler bed, but Rowan slept great all night!

Over the last few nights, there have been very few bedtime battles.  Soooo, I think that means we got this phase down.  Check.

Next up, getting Rowan in a BIG bed so we can convert the toddler bed back to a crib for Cid.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Two Boys in One Room: The Novelty Wore Off

Big Boy Bed Days 4 and 5....

Day 4:

Very similar to Day 3, except that Rowan woke up about 8...yes, EIGHT! times in the middle of the night.  A couple of the times he was just crying in his bed.  All times, he easily went back to sleep.  We were in somewhat of a delirious stupor after a long day and waking up so much, so we muddled through it without remembering much.

{on a side note, Cid slept for 9 hrs straight again! if they could just both do that at the same time...}

Day 5:'s where it turned into more of what we thought we'd be in for.

Around 7:30pm we did the nighttime routine as usual with a bedtime story
5 minutes later, guess who was up.  Roger took him back to bed.
1 minute later, again

and again...

and again...

and again...
and again...
   Then the game started.  The one where he peeks out, runs squealing back towards his bed as Mom or Dad come down the hall, waits for us at the edge of the bed, and turns towards us grinning ear to ear.
This happened over...
and over...
and over...
and over..
   For about an hour and a half, and until his funny tricks were wearing us out. Each time we calmly and firmly put him back, but let's face it, the calmly part was diminishing with each subsequent round.

Meanwhile, Cid was demanding his share of attention, AND we were trying to get some things in order so that the next morning wasn't as crazy as this one was getting everyone out the door in time.

With an end to the game nowhere in sight we resorted to putting a childproof doorknob cover on Rowan's bedroom door to put a stop to it.  I was severely against having one of these on the door from the beginning, but with patience wearing thin, I couldn't come up with anything better.

When Rowan realized that he couldn't open his door, all Hell broke loose.  The screams and banging started.  We gave him 5 minutes and waited for a pause in the tantrum to go back in and remind him that it's bed time and he has to go to sleep in his bed, tucking him in, and closing the door behind us.

Not more than two minutes later, he was at it again.  We gave him another 5 mins. before walked him back to his bed again, tucked him in, said goodnight and closed the door.

Not another peep.

I did demand that we remove the childproof doorknob before we went to bed.  I feel like he should be able o get out if he has to.

At 2:15 am he started this again, but it only took a couple times before he went back to sleep.

Then at 6am he woke up.

I must've jinxed us when I said this was working out great...but we're gonna stick it out for a while.  I'm having a little guilt over pushing him too early.  I have a feeling, though, that we'd face this getting up problem no matter what age he takes to the toddler bed.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Two Boys in One Room: Toddler Bed Days 2 and 3

Happy 4th of July!

This day always reminds me of The Sandlot...hehe. I LOVE 4th of July picnics and I also love the fireworks.  But this year, we're mostly skipping that stuff.  We did go to a picnic last Saturday, for which I baked and apple pie {I never got to try it though, since we had to leave early 'cos Rowan's molars were bothering him} and today, we hit up Ikea to check out toddler beds, and we'll have a small picnic in the park.  No fireworks this year, because we can't leave Domino at home alone with the works going on and we never made any other arrangements.

How are you spending your Independence Day?

We didn't come back from Ikea with a bed because our car was too small to fit everything.  But I think we decided to go ahead and get the Kura. Some friends of ours use this, so I've had it in mind, and Rowan had a blast testing it out today. 
Rowan's first day/night in the converted crib went uh-MAZING!  It was pretty unbelievable, so we were...and still are...somewhat skeptical.

However, so far so good.  Except one weird the morning after his first night, Rowan DEMANDED a bottle.  Not a sippy cup, not a cup with a straw, a BOTTLE.  Before Cid was born, he hadn't had a bottle in a few months.  When he first saw Cid drinking from a bottle, he wanted one too, but we gave him a slow nipple.  It took him for-ever to get his milk and he never asked for one again...until now.  I gave it to him because I thought he might be searching for something familiar in the midst of this bed change-a-roo.

Day 2:

-Rowan spent the day at day care, so we didn't get any nap "test runs"
-Nighttime - We followed the usual bedtime routine, except that we re-introduced a bedtime story.  Never heard a peep until 7:15am!{woot woot!}

Seriously too good to be true.

Day 3:

-Again, naps at day care.
-Nighttime - Usual bedtime routine, but Rowan insisted on reading the bedtime story twice.
-About 5 minutes later, I hear his door open.  Went to check it out and Rowan was hurrying back to his bed....hehe.  I tucked him back in and closed the door.
 -Less than 2 minutes, and I hear his door again.  Again, he hurries back to bed.  I tuck him in and close the door.
-I just walked into the living room, peeked out to see the fantastic job Roger was doing mowing the lawn, and before I knew it, Rowan was in the living room rocking Cid in the bassinet.  I lead Rowan back to his bed, but he sat up and signed for milk so I told him I would get him some milk but he had to stay in his bed.  Took me a minute to find a sippy cup and when I turned around, Rowan was coming down the hall.  I got his milk and took him back to bed.  I told him when he was done with his milk he could put it in the corner of his crib and showed him where.  {keep in mind, I have NO idea how much of this Rowan understands.  He seems to get a lot of it though}.
-A couple minutes later, I hear his door open AGAIN {starting to wonder how long this will take...}. Rowan hands me his sippy cup and then heads back to bed, so I go to tuck him in, but he signs that he wants more {is he playing me?} so I told him I would get him more milk but he had to stay here in his bed.  I fully expected him to get up like last time, but he stayed in his bed until I got back with more milk. I gave him his milk, asked him to lay down.
-Cid had a really fussy night and even though he's still in our room, the noise woke Rowan up around 2:30am.  But Rowan went back to sleep fine.
- He woke up one more time last night and had to be brought back to bed.
- Then he finally woke up for good at 6:30am

Day 3 was definitely more what I expected this process to be like.  But it still went reasonable well and after today's practice in Ikea, I'm confident that Rowan will be happy to sleep in the real bed when we get it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Two Baby Boys in One Room; The Epic Journey Begins

Right now, we're struggling a little with the dilemma of needing to have two babies in one room.

We were kinda hoping that Rowan, {now 18 mos} would be ready to move out of his crib in time for Cid {now 3 mos} to take it over.  But at this point, we've barely even thought about how to handle the sleeping situation and Cid is such a big guy that he's already pretty much breached the limits of the bassinet in our room.  Whether or not any of us are ready, we need to find a solution, pronto!

Just a couple nights ago, Roger and I both agreed that Rowan wasn't quite ready to make the switch to a "Big Boy Bed". We conceded that we would have to suck it up and buy another crib for Cid.  Then Rowan did something that made me think maybe, just maybe, he was ready to upgrade.

He's been having a few rough days/nights of molar pain {poor guy, this is the worst!} and I got up with him in the wee hours one morning to snuggle on the couch.  He laid on the couch with me for a while, then grabbed his blankie, got down, and started off towards his room, motioning me to come with him.  He wanted to go back in his bed.

He's led us to his bed before when he was tired, but I just felt like this was different.  I kind of figured that going to his bed was just the routine that he knew he was supposed to follow.  This time he had been given the opportunity to stay up and do whatever he wanted and what he chose was to go back to bed. I thought, if he would rather be in bed than be up and about, maybe he can handle a bed that doesn't contain him.  

It occurred to me that Rowan's crib converts into a toddler bed and I thought it should be a pretty quick job to take the front panel off and put the two side rails up, so Sunday morning I impulsively began to disassemble.

Rowan is kind of young to be explaining to him the whole "Big Boy Bed" concept, but he was actually very excited about the taking apart of his crib.  He was eager to "help", climb on the crib frame, and jump on the mattress.  He handed me the pieces {that I didn't need quite yet} and "tightened" some of the screws for me.  I thought the assembly would be a lot easier than it was.  I think the mistake I made was reading the directions, which would probably have been better English if they had used Google Translate to create. Plus, the pictures were all wrong!  But after a little sweat and common sense, we had our toddler bed. The very last step was to put the storage drawer back underneath.  Roger and I were struggling a little with this, but before we knew it, Rowan came to our rescue and held up the center while we found the rails on both sides.  And yes, this was actually a big help! Did I mention that sometimes he blows our minds?! Even though it wasn't intentional, I'm glad Rowan got to see and be a part of the conversion because that way, he saw that this was still his bed, just a better version of it! 

Once the conversion was finally complete, I said a little prayer that I wasn't going to have to change the whole thing back right away ;)

Here's the breakdown of Big Boy Bed Day 1:

- Converted the crib to toddler bed with Rowan's help
- 1:00pm Rowan seems a bit sleepy so we start his nap routine and put him in bed.  30 seconds later, we hear his door open and see him peaking out at us.  We didn't force him back in bed because it was still early for his nap and Opa was visiting....not really fair.
- 2:00pm Rowan is pretty tired so we try again.  A couple minutes later, we hear him turning the doorknob so Roger coaxed him back to bed.  He slept there until 3:30pm, when he fell out of the bed onto the {carpeted} floor :(
- Nighttime - Normal routine. He goes right to bed around 7:30pm.  We wake up at 6:30am to someone trying to open his bedroom door ;)

So Day 1 went pretty dang well!  I'd rather wake up to Rowan turning the doorknob than to him crying, which is the usual sitch.

Plus I LOVE that I can give him a kiss when I check on him at night {I couldn't reach with the crib}.

Not sure if this will last, or if he'll suddenly feel like he misses the comfort of the crib confines.

I still think we may have to buy Cid a crib so that Rowan can adjust to his converted crib for a while before he gets a real bed, but I'm thrilled that Rowan took to the conversion so well.

I'll keep you all posted on the steps we take to get the two boys in the same room. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Embarrassing Mommy Moments: The Crap I Carry with Me

While on maternity leave, I've been religious about taking Domino for about a mile-a mile and a half walk or jog every morning before I get on with the rest of the day.

Like any good dog owner, I bring along a bag to pick up Dom's poo, and since I don't enjoy holding the stink bomb for the rest of the trip, I usually hang it from the mommy hook on the stroller.  Still stinks, but at least I don't have to hold it. Then when we get home, I promptly take the bag and throw it in the trash.

Well, yesterday, I didn't use the jogging stroller.  I just had the snap n go.  And I didn't transfer the mommy hook either, so when I scooped up Dom's poo, I stashed it in the mesh basket under the stroller and continued on.

I got home, took Dom and Cid inside the house, got Cid out of the stroller, fed him, fed Domino, folded up the snap n go, got all my stuff together, strapped Cid in the car seat, put on some deodorant real quick while Cid screamed, grabbed my sunglasses, my keys, and the directions to Red Rock Cafe, put Cid in the car, folded up the snap n go and threw it in the back and took off in the car to meet my friend Evelyn. 

The car stunk from some dirty diapers that had cooked a little too long in the back of the car before being discovered {does anyone else with kids find a nice surprise like this every once in a while?} So I vowed when I got back home, I'd remember to keep my windows open to air out the car.

Since it was lunch time, I was a bit worried about finding parking in Downtown Mountain View, but after just one circle, I found a tight spot, and shimmied my way in.  It's hard to get the car seat out when you're squeezed between two other cars, but I was slow and deliberate and got the job done.  I whipped out the snap in go, snapped the car seat {with Cid} in and treked off to find the cafe.  Since it was a beautiful day, I didn't mind walking a bit, but I didn't walk long before I was there.  I walked in and ordered a chai latte and a big oat bake.  {BTW, the chai latte was a little too spicey for my taste...would pick something else next time}.  Then Evelyn showed up and we started catching up on all the life that had happened in the ages that we hadn't seen each other.  Our visit was over quick and then it was back in the car to go home.

After I got home, I took Cid inside and lounged around for a while.  Then a thought went off like a lightbulb in my head. Did I forget to toss Dom's poop bag when I got home from the walk? OMG, I didn't!  OMG, I carried that poop with me into a coffee shop!! I sat at a table and ate with it's stench keeping me {and all the other patrons}company! 

I wondered why I hadn't noticed.  I wondered if anyone else had.  Dom's poos are pretty damn stinky!  Have I just gotten used to bad smells to the point where I am oblivious? Now, sitting alone in my home, I could feel my cheeks flush with embarrassment for what people must have thought as I walked by them with my perfume a la dog doo.

Ugh, sometimes {okay, quite often}I'm such a mess.

Thank goodness I don't go to that coffee shop often! 

Sorry if I ruined anyone's lunch!  :-X

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Growth Chart for the Boys

Rowan grows like crazy.  Every day it seems like he's this much closer to grabbing the doorknobs and bonking his head on the counter top...ok, he's already grabbing the doorknobs!

It's time to start tracking this kids height!

Originally, I was going to paint a growth chart, but we can't take that with us when/if we move.  No fun :(  So I kind of put that off...

Then this came up on the Silhouette blog

I hate to be a total copycat, but basically, we copied this project to a "T"....except for a few things:

-We used wood slats from an old Ikea bed instead of pallets.

-We made ours by putting two slats together side-by-side and then another pair on top so that it could be taller....our boys could be tall!

-We started the measurements at 2 feet.  This allowed us to make more room above 6 feet and besides, by the time you measure your kid's height, they'll probably be taller than 2 feet already.  BUT, you have to make sure you mount the chart exactly 2 ft from the floor!

-No need for a fancy-schmancy Silhouette  (: x).  For 3 Bucks, I bought number stencils at The Home Depot.

-For the white portion, we Kilz used primer, which we had on hand.  Worked great.  It's runnier than paint so you can still see the wood grain and it give a very flat, rugged finish.

I like.

Also, not sure how the original one was mounted, but we used two flushmount brackets on each of the two pairs of slats.

Mounting the chart was kind of a challenge.  We measured two feet from the floor and marked where the bottom of the chart had to be.  Then we attached one piece of the flushmount brackets to the back of the boards.  We put tape on the back of the other piece and clipped those into the attached piece.  Placed the boards against the wall and applied pressure until the other piece of the flushmount was taped to the wall.  Then carefully lift and remove the boards, leaving the other piece of the bracket on the wall.  Then drive in the screws!  It's a little tricky and might be easier to just measure it all out.  But that's how we did it.

You'll want a level too, to make sure your chart is straight.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cloth Diapering for Two: Harder Than I Bargained For

My economical, earth friendly plight has reached a turning point.  I would say our cloth diaper status is currently at about 20% and less if I'm really lazy.

We did a good job keeping Rowan in CDs until we switched to his new day care, {which we LOVE, by the way}.  I have to admit, I never asked if they would do cloth diapers.  I just felt like since it is a home-based day care at such a reasonable price, I shouldn’t give them the extra hassle of cloth.  They do require more frequent changes and a little extra time at the changing station.

Since we also use disposable diapers at night, there really isn’t much room at all during the day for Rowan to use CDs.  We were doing cloth on the weekends for a while, but we’ve been noticing that our GroVia hybrids haven’t been fitting Rowan so well.  They’ve gotten harder and harder to get on and I finally threw in the towel.  I was a little disappointed since I thought the diapers would fit until Rowan was potty trained.  Maybe they would fit most babies.  At 17 months, Rowan is pretty big for his age.  We just got a little toilet for the Cub and I think he’s going to catch on fast {fingers crossed}.  At this point, I don’t want to invest any more money trying to find a new cloth diaper that fits. For Rowan, disposos it is, until he can wear real undies.

For Cid, I’ve been using the Thirsties covers with pre-fold inserts.  The thing is, we burn through the inserts in a single day and I’m just not as on top of the laundry as I was with just Rowan. I swear those inserts have been slowly disappearing just like socks!  And sue me if I want to get in a few loads of my own clothes and take a break every once in a while.  

I may or may not buy a few more prefolds.  But mostly, I'll just continue to use what we have the best we can.  I keep telling myself that at least using a few less disposos is doing something good.

Anyone else CDing for two? I love to hear thoughts or tips.

Image Source:

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Favorite Thing About Being a Mommy...Right Now

Really, what's not to like about being a mommy right now?!  Between all the mind-boggling things Rowan is doing everyday and Cid reminding us how cute a little baby is, we are seriously drowning in happy times.

But if I had to choose one...or maybe two {per kid, of course ;p} things, here's what's making me feel the most warm and fuzzy inside:

Cid's big smile.

I think what I love most about this smile, besides that its super cute, is how hard he has to work to make it happen and even so, he hands 'em out freely. Once, I even got a real laugh out of him. His whole face lights up and he gives us the ol' Tyra smize.  It's to die for!

Rowan's wink.

The other day, Rowan looked at his dad, paused, and made a long blink with both eyes.  Then a HUGE grin took over his face.  This came totally unprompted and took us by complete surprise.  We blinked back a few times, and he did it again.  Now we're giving him winks and he'll do his darndest, but it's still just a long two eyed blink, which I have to say, I think is even cuter than a wink.

Baby farts.

Is that weird?  They're just give me a giggle, especially after the 6th week struggle, where gas caused Cid so much discomfort.  I love to know that he's passing gas and I LOVE it when he can pass gas without pain.

Leg holds and head hugs.

I guess because Rowan's realized that I can't pick him up all the time anymore, he'll run to me and instead of reaching up, he'll wrap his arms around my leg and squeeze.  And instead of climbing in my lap for a hug, he'll come over and lay his head on me.  Soooo cute!

Brotherly love.

Ok, I know it was supposed to be one...or two...per kid, but this one is a bonus...and they're my rules to break anyway.  With two baby boys, there's always a tinge of guilt on my mind that I'm not giving enough to one or the other.  Always a feeling that Rowan might think I don't care about him anymore or that Cid will feel lonely because he's not in my arms as often.  No matter how much I try, I can't do everything for both of them all the time.  It seems like a "duh", but it's really enough to drive my feelings of inadequacy through the roof!  So the absolute BEST, is to see them love each other.  That's when I know that I'm doing okay at this mom thing.  Alright, Cid can't show it so much, but seeing Rowan gently rub Cid's back or hold his hand will bring me to {happy} tears.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Country Boys, Our Anniversary, and a New Water Heater

We've been on the move!  Seriously, I've barely had a chance to catch my breath in the last few weeks. 

It all started with...well...with Cid {our second baby boy}.  I mean, a week after his birth we had a home appraisal.  We'd also been planning to send Ronin, our TB horse {read more about Ronin HERE} up to my family's property in Northern California.  What's that you say?  No, the Bay Area is NOT Northern California, although it technically eeks in there.  There's quite a bit more North to this beautiful state.  But I digress.

We decided that it would be the best thing for everyone if Ronin went to live with my mom for an indefinite amount of time after we had two kids.  At first, this wasn't an easy decision because our riding instructor was turning Ronin into a real champion,

 Ronin at his last show, the same day he left

...but it became more and more apparent as Cid's birth approached that it really was our only option.  It was getting really hard for us to properly care for Ronin.  He wasn't getting the attention he needed or deserved.  Luckily for us, my mom was more than willing to give him a home while we figure out this whole parenting thing.  Otherwise, well, I don't even want to think about otherwise.   Planning Ronin's departure had me really stressed, but in the end it worked out well.  I'll try to write more on that later. 

The last day we saw him at the Ranch, was both relieving and sad.  It finally hit me that he wouldn't be here anymore. 

We had planned to follow him up to my parents' place, but as things worked out, he was hauled away much earlier than anticipated, so we waited an extra week to make the trip. 

What an adventure! A 7 hour car ride, winding along the N. California coast with a 5 week old baby, a 17 month old kid, a dog, and a bird is no small feat.  The kids did great.  The dog threw up.

Awaiting us at Grandma and Grandpa's house, were bunnies, horses, kitties, a tractor {okay, a riding lawn mower}, oh, and Grandma and Grandpa of course.  Plus, Uncle Jim and Serenity.  So much fun for us city kids with country hearts.

Rowan's mind must have been an exploding.  He got to help Grandma feed the animals every morning.  He approached it as he does everything; taking serious mental notes so that he can remember each step required.  On the day that Grandma was gone, Rowan showed me how to do the feeding, leading me to each type of food and then pointing me in the direction of who it was supposed to go to. 

Grandma had also put out a little inflatable pool for Rowan,

and Grandpa busted out the old "tractor" for some driving fun.

And Rowan got to chase bubbles too!

Rowan wasn't up for riding my mom's miniature pony, Thor, but he did brave the biggest horse with Dad.

Cid got a lot of cuddle time....and that's about it...sorry Cid, next time you can drive the tractor! 

Oh! And we watched the eclipse!  Glasses?  What glasses?  We used welding masks 'cos we're cool like that.

It was a great week, full of lots of things.

With all of this going on, we barely remembered our anniversary!  We celebrated our 3rd year of marriage driving back home!  Prolly could've planned that better, ya think?  My bad. 

But anyway,


to the most patient, caring, handsome, amazing man I know!  Life with you {and now our kiddos, too} is the best!

Now, back to the grind...

SO, three days back home, just getting our bearings and wouldn't ya know it, we wake up to a big puddle in the garage streaming from our water heater.  Love and old house!  The joints at the top of the heater had totally corroded.  I looked up the model and serial number and found out that our water heater was manufactured in 1993!  It's almost 20 years old!!  And it's warranty was only 6 years.  By the way, it was super easy to find this out by the serial number.  Rheemglas SN0293xxxx R-6.3.  The "0293" means February 1993 and the "R-6" means 6 year warranty.  Anyway, lucky for us, it's Memorial Day Weekend and OSH was having their "We pay the sales tax" sale.  We basically got a like for like replacement so that it was easy to {self} install, although our new one is a Kenmore.  It came out to about $400.00. Roger took the old one out and put the new one in with the help of a friendly neighbor while I played single mom.....whew, I think I know who had the harder job!  Five hours later, we have hot water again! 

Thank goodness it's a three day weekend.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dear {16 moth} Rowan

Dear 16 Month Old Rowan,

You melt our hearts.

You don't talk much yet, even though your working on it.  But what you lack in words, you make up for in personality and awareness.

Every day you do something new that blows our minds.  Right now, you're putting everything away in it's proper place.  And sometimes we wonder where you got your organizational skills, because both of us are certainly lacking in that area.  We hope you keep it up though!

We love when you plop down in our laps to read a book or put on your shoes, {by the way, you can say "shoes" and you do often}.

You want to help with everything.  But sometimes you get frustrated when your body can't do what your brain wants it to. 

You let us know when you're hungry by leading us to the kitchen and making the "more" sign.  You eat like crazy and it's pretty incredible that your stomach can hold your meals.

You let us know you're ready for bed by leading us to your room and trying to climb into your crib.  But still, you cry a bit when we pick you up to say your "goodnight's".

 And speaking of "goodnight's", you always give your mom and dad a goodnight hug {and if we're lucky we get a kiss too}, you give Domino a hug, Buddy a wave, and your little brother, Cid always gets a kiss on the head.

We look at you now, and you're not a baby anymore.  You're a little boy.  Always changing.

At the end of the day, I reflect on the things you've done and I feel so proud to be your mom.  And I'm also a little sad that I can't keep you at this age forever, but I know that as you grow, there will be so many times to look forward to, so I try my best to hold on to the memories we're making right now and continue to enjoy every day with you.



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ergo Baby, Baby Bjorn, Moby

I really try not to collect too much baby stuff since we have a small house. So it's surprising that we actually do have all three of these baby carriers.  Lucky for us they were handed down or loaned so we didn't have to shell out megabucks for each one.

And since we have all three carriers, I figured I might as well share my thoughts on them.  Maybe those of you who are trying to decide which one(s) you should get for your baby will find this useful....or maybe not.

Ergo Baby (& infant insert)

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I really wanted to like the Ergo Baby because it seemed more versatile than the Baby Bjorn.  You can buy the infant insert for small babies, remove the insert for larger babies, and switch the carrier to your back for toddlers. For {small} infants the Ergo Baby with infant insert works well.  Unfortunately, we only put our first son in the Ergo Baby with infant insert maybe twice before he grew out of it.  However, it did keep him all snuggly and comfy, and it also was comfortable for me to wear.  I don't know about others, but I'm super paranoid when carrying a young baby in carriers that they might suffocate.  I felt like it was difficult to check that my baby was still breathing while he was all bundled up in the infant carrier.  Once our {bigger} infant grew out of the insert, the Ergo Baby was not really very useful.  His legs weren't ready to spread wide enough to protrude out the sides, and the bottom didn't get tight enough to tuck him in the pouch without the added support from the leg holes.  He would've slipped out the bottom.  Now that our first son is over a year, the Ergo Baby does work well to carry him when carrying on the back.  It's hard to get a young toddler in by yourself though.  So all in all, I think the Ergo Baby is OK, but we don't really use it very often.

Baby Bjorn (original)

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Someone gave us their old Baby Bjorn and I'm glad they did because once our infant son had grown too big for the Ergo Baby with infant insert, we used the Baby Bjorn.  By "we", I mean my husband mostly.  I only found the Baby Bjorn comfortable as long as our baby was small enough to be chest-facing.  It was easier to check on the little one's airflow, but I felt like I had to lean forward and support his head with my hand whenever I was working on something because his head could flop around in the extra space.  Once our son was facing out, I didn't like the Baby Bjorn very much.  On our model the front flap that supports the baby's neck when they're really young didn't stay tucked down in the front so it was always in our son's face once he was forward-facing.  It was easier to load him in and tighten up than the Ergo Baby, but cannot be used on for carrying toddlers on your back. Still, we used the Baby Bjorn more than the Ergo Baby.

The Moby Wrap

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I was skeptical of the Moby, even after a friend of ours raved about hers.  It looked like a hassle.  That friend loaned us her Moby for our second baby, and I've found it to be quite easy to use and comfortable.  I like that our infant's feet can be tucked in under the wrap and his position can be adjusted for comfort and breathing.   With the Moby, it's really easy to check on your little bundle constantly to make sure they've got good airflow, and you can either pull the fabric up more to support the head, or pull it down for visibility.  The Moby Wrap is also fairly comfortable to wear around without the baby, so you can just put it on once and take the baby in and out as you want.  I don't think the Moby will be useful for a toddler, but it's definitely my favorite of the three for an infant.

There is one other carrier that we've also found useful.  However, this one is not brand specific.  We picked up a baby {hiking} backpack at a garage sale and we love it for a baby that's big enough to have some neck strength and spread their legs into the legholes.  The really nice thing about these hiking backpacks is that they usually have a little "kickstand" that can be popped out so the backpack with the baby inside can be set down on the ground....good for loading/unloading and using as a chair for your baby while you're outdoors.

Wow!  Four carriers, all for one {and now two} little babies.  And that's not even counting the four different strollers we have!  Yikes.  Well, ya know, we needed a single stroller, then a single jogging stroller, then a double stroller, then a double jogging stroller.....sounds like it's time to unload some of the stuff we don't need anymore.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dear {3 wk old} Cid

Dear 3 Week Old Cid,

We haven't been great about posting your pictures or sharing all the little things that make up your first three weeks of life, but that's because we're busy making the most of our time with you and your brother.  You guys keep us on our toes!

The two of you are the most amazing and precious things in our lives.

You've only been out of my belly for a short time, and you are already amazing us with your ability to adapt to this new world and to show us that our love is infinite.

Your legs are strong and you already hold your head up high. You furrow your brow like your Momma and you smile {gas smiles} to one side like your Poppa.  And you have a bunch of hair on the back of your head that sticks out and curls up like a duck tail, so we call you "duck".

We want to thank you for being a mellow guy.  You eat and sleep.  And cry? Yes, some.  But not much.  Mostly when we change your diaper, or we've left you in a dirty one for too long, sorry. 

And did I mention how much your brother loves you? Rowan gives you kisses whenever he sees you.  He gently rubs your head and touches your hands.  He's the best big brother we could ask for.

The next few weeks might get rough.  You're growing.  We might get frustrated.  Just because this is our second time, we're no experts.  We have to learn what you're telling us.  We have to remember how this works.

We promise we'll always try our best and always, always love you more than anything.

You're our little duck.

And we're your family.

We love you,

Mom, Dad, & Rowan 
        Oh yeah, and Domino and Buddy too!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

{DIY} New Lawn & Landscape

After multiple failed attempts to get on HGTV's Curb Appeal, we finally conceded that we were gonna have to get our hands dirty and fix up the front of our place ourselves. 

This is a pretty slow process since we're learning as we go, and, well, with a toddler and a newborn, and all our pets, and full time jobs, we've got a lot on our plate already.  But as slow as it is, it's also very rewarding to see the improvements come to fruition and know that we CAN do this.

If you remember, this was the front view of our property when we bought it. you can't really tell, but we had a single-car, asphalt driveway, which we had replaced last summer, with a double-car stamped concrete driveway with matching path and flowerbed walls {still in love with our new driveway too!}.  See that project HERE.

After {imagine a tree in the open spot in the curb}


In addition to the driveway, we had new windows put in, and replaced the front fence {necessary since the old fence was so rotted, Domino could break through it}. 

We also dug up the front yard quite a while ago in preparation for a new lawn.  Well, it started with trying to get rid of a few weeds, which turned into digging up the entire yard thanks to years and years of root growth.  And since we weren't quite ready to tackle the lawn project, we had a dirt lawn for almost a year!

It got to the point that a neighbor sent his gardener over to give us a quote on fixing our front yard!! Okay, this neighbor is one of our good friends, but we got the message.

But in reality, we were making progress. 


I'm no landscaper, but I drew out what I thought would be a nice plan for the front yard.  Rather than just a lawn, I thought we should try a border along the front and side which we'd fill with flower bushes.  I was hoping this would look nice and save us some water {and $$}.


Rogér installed the sprinkler system {100% himself} over the winter.  We had to wait for some rain to soften up the ground, and unfortunately, this was the least rainy winter we've ever had here.  We used Rainbird because they have a good reputation and if you send in the dimensions of your yard, they'll send you back a plan with the parts list and recommended sprinkler head locations.

Since we still had a lot of work to do as far as getting tilling the ground, Rogér put the sprinkler pipes almost a foot deep.  That way, when we tilled, we wouldn't hit the lines.

After the sprinkler system was in and tested {it worked beautifully with no leaks!}, we tilled a few times to dig up the remaining weed roots.

We had originally planned to put down grass seed, but our dirt was so rocky that we were worried about the seed growing in evenly.  Plus, many of our friends that have put in lawns recommended sod, so we switched the plan to sod.  Of course, reading up on sod, we realized we were gonna have to get rid of all the rocks anyway!  Ugh!

We read that we had to sift the dirt to remove any rocks bigger than 1/2 inch.  Wow, was this painstaking!  We picked up some wire mesh at Home Depot and used some scrap wood to make sifters.  Foot by foot, we shoveled dirt into the sifters and removed the rocks.  We had done about 1/8th of the yard, which took a couple weeks, when a gardener who works on the house across the street saw me shoveling and sifting {9mos preggo} and came over to tell me that we definitely did NOT need to go through all that work.  He said no landscaper would go through all that trouble, and as long as we got out the BIG rocks, we would be fine.

Taking his advice, we moved really quickly through the rest of the dirt. 

We still had to till a few more times to loosen the ground and remove big rocks and weed roots.  Total, we probably tilled about 5 times, although we had to break it up into multiple sessions due to time and weather constraints.

The gardener also recommended that we mix some redwood mulch into the dirt since our ground was clay rich.  We didn't end up doing that, but we did put in some grass fertilizer that was leftover from a friend's lawn.

Next, we raked and leveled the heck out of the dirt, using a borrowed landscape rake and wheelbarrow, until we were happy with the levelness and pitch of the yard. 

Note: you want a level yard, but with a low pitch down towards the street, so the water will run off towards the street.

We also put in the border so we knew where to stop the sod.  Throughout this process, my mom kept saying things like "THEY might ruin our border when THEY install the sod," and "When are THEY going to do the sod?"  Every time, I reminded her that there is no THEY, only US.  Haha.

4. SOD

We ordered our sod from U-Save Rockery.  It actually came from Sacramento, which was fine since our soil is really good soil.  We've heard that if you have temperamental soil, you will have to get local sod.

Once the sod arrived, it only took a few hours for Rogér and his dad to get it laid in.   This was probably the easiest  and the most rewarding part because we actually had a lawn when it was done!

We read that the best way to lay the sod is so the seems in each row are staggered like bricks.

TIP: For filling in the odd shaped edges, Roger found that cutting the sod from the back {dirt side} worked best.  He used a linoleum knife.

                                                                After laying the sod, Rogér and his dad took turns rolling it out. {U-Save provides a free sod roller for a day with your order}.

And voila!  We have a yard!


I had picked out a few flowers from a local nursery with the help of my mom, and we quickly added those to the border area.  The flowers are all full sun and hearty plants to minimize our water usage and maintenance.  The plants still need to grow and we'll fill in more as we're ready.

We installed a drip system to water the plants in the border area and adjusted some of the sprinkler heads so that they would hit every inch of the new grass.

For about a week afterwards, I was still surprised every time I looked out the window and saw our nice lawn!  We also got a lot of compliments from all the neighbors, who I'm sure are pleased after worrying that we would bring down the neighborhood forever.

This was truly a DIY project, and we are super proud of it! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cake Pop Flop!

Ever since cake pops hit the scene, I've been dying to make them. There's so many cute, pretty, imaginative ways to decorate them, and they're delicious!

But time and resources never really allowed me to try....

Until now...

I happened to have some cake scraps leftover from a cake I made for a friend's baby shower.  I also had some leftover frosting, and just happened to be able to squeeze in a run to Michael's, where I picked up some candy sticks and candy melts {among other things that were unrelated to cake pops}.

I felt like these should be simple enough, but it didn't really work out as planned.

My initial cake balls may have been too large?  or too soft?  I'm not exactly sure, since I never read any directions or recipes or tips {surprise!}, but the issue I had was that when I tried to dip the pops in the melted candy chips, the ball slipped right off the stick, or sagged sloppily towards the side.

I managed to pull off a couple of OK looking ones, which went to our friends, The Ballous, who just welcomed home a baby boy {in case you haven't read our older posts}.

The rest of the flops were eaten by us, although I had intentions of giving them away....haha. They might have looked bad, but they still tasted pretty damn good!

The upside to this story is that I'm pretty sure I'm over cake pops.  At least, the making them part.  I'll leave that to more patient people and I'll just enjoy their hard work!

Friday, April 20, 2012

There's a new Ballou in Town!

Rowan and Cid have a new little buddy to add to their growing posse.

We're very happy to share the news that our good friends, Bret and Lisa Ballou welcomed their baby boy, Evan James, on April 17th, 2012.

Bret & Lisa with Evan 
photo courtesy of The Ballou Blog

What a surprise, since Evan wasn't due until another 4 weeks!  
But he was born a very healthy boy and everyone is doing great.

Can you believe that Evan and Cid were born only 8 days apart? 
These guys are going to have so much fun together!

Not to mention, we're excited that our paternity and maternity leaves will overlap!  It's much more fun to have time off work when you can share it with friends.

Follow the Ballous as they learn to be a family of three on their blog, The Ballou Blog.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Welcome Home, Baby Cid!

Sorry I left everyone hanging!  {well, by everyone, I mean the very few of you who read our blog and probably already know the news anyway :) }

I've been meaning to get another post up, but we're kinda busy, ya know.

On April 9th, 2012, our second baby boy, Cid Laurentius Balyon arrived!  

He weighed 8lbs 2.7oz and was  20.5 inches long.

 Cid with his proud Papa

Cid is such a good baby.  
He eats great, sleeps great, and barely makes a peep, except when we change his diaper.

Rowan is an amazing older brother.  I was worried about how he'd handle the new little guy.  He's been jealous in the past when we've held other babies, and since he's so young, he really wasn't able to understand anything about us having a baby or him being a brother.  But to our surprise, he's taken it really well.  He waves to Cid and gives him hugs and kisses.  He brings Cid's pacifier to him and tries to share his bottle.  He's relatively gently, but occasionally slams a book or toy in Cid's lap or face.  Cid's a trooper already.

Tippy toes!

We couldn't believe how small Cid seems, even though he actually weighed more than Rowan did, he seems so tiny since we've been living with a toddler.  BTW, Rowan all of a sudden seems like a giant.  The first night home, I tucked him in bed and thought, "holy cow, he looks like a 5yr old!"

Our first week home was jam-packed full of things to do, {new lawn, home appraisal, friend's baby shower, etc.} so we've hardly had a chance to settle in.  But we're getting there. So far, I think this transition to a family of four couldn't have gone more smoothly.

We LOVE our little Cid!

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