Thursday, March 31, 2011

a glimmer of opportunity

So yesterday after much thought and consideration about going back to work I stumbled upon a few possible opportunities. I submitted myself for an upcoming audition, found a performing arts high school that is looking for part-time theater teachers and I found a theater company looking for submissions for adapted works. So I'm going to apply for the part-time teaching job which would be from 2-5pm a few days a week And I'm going to rework my script of "The Rachel Corrie Project" to fit the guidelines for this theatre festival, which would be an opportunity to get my play produced in Chicago.

This still doesn't answer the childcare issue. I'm going to keep investigating. Regardless, I don't want to work more than part-time a few hours a week. I keep forgetting that our church is a great resource...so I'm going to ask some of the young parents at my church. 

  In Other News: My sister is in town for the weekend! We're going to have a great time! G and I are even going to spend a night with her at the Palmer house! Too fun! Gunnar's latest thing is...sucking his wrist. He's sucking it raw. Poor guy has a permanent rough and red hicky on his left wrist. I'm hoping this is just a phase.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To Work or Not to Work, that IS the question.

Well let's be honest here. There is no option. As my dear husband informed me not so long ago...me playing stay at home mommy is "not sustainable long term".  So there ends the question. But not really.  There's a lot more to it than just deciding to go back to work. Because I don't have a job to go "back" to. We just moved to the Chicago area two months before Gunnar was born and I haven't held a job since 2008. I do have a shiny new degree and lots of experience to boot but not sure where to start in Chicago.

I wish I had the luxury of making the choice to stay at home, but I guess in the long run with my student loans, rent, car payments and a new baby, money is our major obstacle. I so desperately want to fight for my right to stay at home. I love being a part of Gunnar's day. I love it. Even when it's hard, I love it. It's virtually impossible to get anything done, but I love it anyway. There is a reason I used to get paid to do this...it's a full time job. If only I could get paid to be a mommy. Argh! But I can't very well justify working just to work. Daycare is far too expensive in this city and I flat out refuse to pay for someone else to raise my child just so I can work a retail job. I don't want to work just to pay for daycare, that makes no sense at all. There has to be something I can do to create revenue. My etsy shop is a start...but a couple hundred bucks a month apparently won't cut it (according to the DH). 

I've been looking for teaching jobs but not finding much in the area. I really miss the stage and would love to start auditioning again, but first I need to figure out what to do with Gunnar. I have yet to find a daycare in the city that has drop-in hours (let alone one that will accept an infant under 15 months) and I just don't know how to go about finding a trust-worthy babysitter that would be available during the day and one that won't cost me an arm and a leg.  To be honest, now that I'm a mom...I don't know how I got hired as a nanny. How do I just trust some random college student to watch my child? I know I'm going to want to find someone doting and attentive. I hate to think of putting Gunnar in a daycare where he would just be plopped in some excersaucer and left to his own devices for hours on end. (Not to say all daycares are like this...I know my nephew goes to a very loving daycare in CT but in my mind loving daycares come with a hefty price.)
I feel a little trapped. In limbo with this beautiful child not necessarily wanting to find my way out but knowing inevitably I'm going to have to or our financial future will suffer. It's times like these when I wish I lived closer to my parents.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Great Diaper Challenge: Round 3

Round 2 Wrap Up:
So yesterday we finished up our pack of Seventh Generation, size 2 diapers. Of the 40 diapers we had 4 blow outs and 0 pee thrus. I'm pretty sure one of those blow outs was my fault (went over 5 hours without a change--bad mommy moment) it was the heaviest diaper I have ever held! Two of the blowouts happened while traveling by plane...could airplane pressure cause explosive poo?? Hmmm maybe we'll test that theory another time (sounds like something daddy would enjoy doing...he loves that Myth Busters show).  All in all these diapers are solid. I mean they just feel sooo sturdy and the fasteners stick better than any other diaper I've used. They also, obviously, can really hold in the pee. Diaper rash was not present at all...so I truly believe it was the Huggies that were giving G such bad diaper rash. With Amazon subscribe and save program (and free shipping from amazon.com/mom or amazon prime) pricing comes to $0.25 per diaper.

So here's how they scored on each category (5 star system.  5 *'s=Best, 1*= worst)

feel:                *****
softness:         ****
fit:                   *****
fasteners:        *****
fashion:           ****
eco-friendly:   ***
price:               ***
reliability:       ***

Average:   4 out of 5 *'s

Next up:
Earth's Best Tender Care Diapers
Gunnar's been wearing these for one day now and I must say they're not scoring high on the fashion (a little ugly in my opinion...haha) and we've already had one blow out, so we'll see how the rest of the week goes. These diapers are sort of a mixture of the last two diapers I tried.

Here are their stats:



  • Not treated with chlorine bleach
  • Partially made of renewable resources (like wheat and corn)
  • Soft texture
  • Leak protection


And here are some more photos from our Florida getaway:
Baby Heaven!


G and his girlfriend Stella (she's only 3 weeks younger!)

Notice how huge Gunnar is compared to Stella!

G loved his mommy's mentee Lindsay!

Hanging with Asolo peeps!

Tired baby from boat ride!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Traveling with an Infant: Disney Do's

So this may not be the most helpful tips for Disney goers with an infant, because we only went for one day...and we went to Epcot, which isn't the typical choice with an infant.  We chose Epcot for a few reasons:

1. My sister-in-law had never been
2. It was bound to be less crowded (spring break!)
3. We figured there would be less hassle with stroller parking, etc.

We were very pleased with our choice. I think if Gunnar had been a few months older (and able to be in an easy umbrella stroller), and if I had brought an easier diaper bag (like a backpack or something) we might have gone for the Magic Kingdom, but because we knew Gunnar would probably be most comfortable in the stroller (covered from the sun), Epcot was the ideal choice.  The stroller was able to go with us almost everywhere (except rides and the aquarium) and the crowds were minimal.

Here's what we did at Epcot:

1. Purchased infant sized Mickey Ears and had them embroidered with Gunnar's name!

2. Took Gunnar on the Finding Nemo ride, saw the manatees and watched Turtle Talk with Crush at the Seas exhibit.

3. Made 4:45pm reservations to eat with the princesses for dinner in World Showcase: Norway at Akerhus.

4. Toured the World Showcase:







*Norway--enjoyed lefse, took picture with giant troll and took G on Maelstrom (dark boat ride with small drop...aunt Kerry was more scared than Gunnar!).
*China--toured gardens trying to find which animal was Gunnar's year (Tiger! too cool)

*Germany--Kerry enjoyed a pretzel and some wine, Gunnar got stickers from a nice German girl

*Italy--not much to do...

*America--NAP RIDE!! The American Adventure: This is what John and I affectionately call the animatronic show/movie...it's a 40 minute history lesson guided by Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin...and I always seem to enjoy taking a nap through it! It was a little harder with an infant, but Gunnar nursed and did fall asleep for most of the 40 minutes! Great place to breast feed!

*Japan--bought some incense and Lucky Owls for Gunnar's nursery (his room is all owls!)

*Morocco--Took lots of pictures of G and Kerry sitting on the magic carpet!

*France--Did a little shopping, Gunnar met the white kitty from the Aristocats

*United Kingdom--we met Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and Tiger too!!!

* Canada---skipped it (not as stroller friendly)

* Mexico--boat ride!! Gunnar LOVED this ride!! I also bought Gunnar a maraca!
 



























5. Dinner with the Princesses...comes with a 3 course meal and an 8x10 and two 4x6 prints of your party with Belle (oh yes! Cheese-tastic!) Gunnar truly loved meeting princesses Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, Belle and Ariel...especially if they had high pitch voices!! And they all thought he was an adorable prince!


 6. We were pooped and done by 7:00pm. We saw everything we wanted to and were able to get back in time for Gunnar's bedtime!




 Tips:
*There is a baby care center (we never went, but I hear they're great and it's a great place to nurse and change your baby).
*Bring a baby carrier (ie: baby bjorn, ergo, wrap, etc.) for areas where you can't have a stroller.
*It would probably be easier to have a backpack diaper bag
*Bring large brim hat for baby...it's always sunny!
*Don't forget sunscreen for you and baby
*Bring a light weight blanket to provide shade for baby.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Traveling with an Infant: Beach Babe

So I've never been much of a beach lover. I'm not sure why, maybe because I didn't take many trips as a child or maybe because I've seen one too many seasons of shark week on the Discovery Channel.  Not to mention that: I don't like sand, it gets everywhere...my skin is so fair that I burn easily...bugs bite and I'm scared of the unknown waters.  In the three years that I lived in Sarasota I think I went to the beach a total of 5 times, maybe.

Even so, I was determined to introduce Gunnar to the ocean on our recent trip. So here are some of the tips from my readers that worked for us:

1. We went to the beach in the late afternoon.  Babies under the age of 6 months aren't supposed to be exposed to heat or sun for any extended period of time. So going later in the afternoon meant the sun/heat was past it's peak and much milder.  I guess babies under 6 months also aren't supposed to wear sunscreen. But my pediatrician said it would be okay to put small amounts on exposed skin. So that is what we did. We used Aveeno Baby Sunscreen.

2. Full rash guard bathing suit for Gunnar with large brim sun hat! Since we needed as little exposed skin as possible, I brought a full rash guard swim suit from Hanna Andersson with a matching full brim sun hat. This suit and hat blocks 99% of UVA/UVB rays. So I was confident baby G was protected!

3. Carseat. We went ahead and brought G in the carseat (he was sleeping when we got there...so it was easiest) it made it easy for his napping, though it did make for a challenge to carry across the sand (sand is so hard to walk on).

4. A short but sweet trip. To avoid too much sun exposure, we stayed for only 45 minutes. Gunnar touched the ocean and ate a little bit of sand...what more could we ask for? It was short and sweet and very enjoyable!

Other Tips:

* A Queen size Flat Sheet. I meant to bring this with us, I had it in the hotel room afterall (Kendra, great idea!!!) but totally spaced...I meant to use it like a beach blanket for G to roll around on.

* Umbrella. If the sun was brighter or hotter I would have opened my travel umbrella to provide extra shade for G.

* Boppy. If I had brought my boppy this could have helped G sit up and play.

* We used Huggies little swimmers for the pool but not for the beach.  I figured he wouldn't be going all the way in the cold water so it didn't really matter.  Many peopke mentioned that the swim diapers don't hold pee, only poo...but I found that they did hold G's pee....hmmmm.









In Other News:  I'm so excited that the shop owner from Atlanta, Georgia has already sold half of my shirts and has placed another order of 19 shirts! I'm going to be busy busy for the next 2 weeks!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Traveling with an Infant: Hotels 101

So it's been 8 weeks since I've slept in the same room as Gunnar...and I have to say, I've slept better that way.  Being next to his every grunt and groan would wake me from even the deepest sleep. So the thought of sleeping in the same room with him for 4 nights did not exactly sound like a restful vacation, if you know what I mean.  But thanks again to my readers suggestions we were able to make things (mostly) enjoyable for both mom and baby.

Here is what worked for us.

1. Well first of all, call the hotel(s) before you book to see if they have cribs and find out exactly what kind they are, if you're not comfortable with what they have...find a different hotel, or bring your own pack 'n play or a tent.  I made the mistake of only checking to see if they had cribs and not what kind they had. Our first hotel had Graco Pack 'n Plays (which was fine), but our second hotel had very old bassinet sized iron painted cribs on wheels (this was cause for quite alarm and made me very uncomfortable...which could have been avoided if I had asked what kind of crib they had before booking). Also if they give you a pack 'n play ask if someone will come and set it up for you...I tried to do it myself and thought the crib was broken, but then the house manager came in and showed me how to do it.

2. Bring your own crib sheets. I was so thankful to have my own soft sheets. The first hotel had stiff starched crib sheets and the second didn't even have fitted sheets, they just folded a flat sheet around the mattress which really didn't seem safe at all. So I was glad to have my soft comfy sheets to make it feel more homey for Baby G.

3. We tried our best to stick to our bedtime rituals and schedule. Luckily Florida is on Eastern time so we could stay out an hour later without messing up his timing...but we really never got him in bed at his normal bedtime (it was just too hard to get ourselves dinner and ready to stay in the hotel room for the rest of the night that early)...but thankfully that didn't effect his sleeping (as he slept VERY well on vacation at least 9 hours every night!).  I brought his sleep sheep, books and bath soap and he adapted perfectly to the new environment.

4. Bring your own Queen size flat sheet. This was the best advice!! (Thanks Jenn!!) Since there wasn't enough room in the bathroom or closet to seclude the crib, I needed a way to make it darker for G once we put him down. So once we put G down I turned on his sleep sheep & covered the pack 'n play with a sheet so that it was darker. In doing this we were able to keep lights on and turn on the tv without disturbing him.  Then before I went to bed I took the sheet off. (This sheet can also come in handy for Beach time...more on that later.)

Aunt Kerry reading G his night time stories
So I was really terrified of the "orphanage crib" we were given at the second hotel. It was tiny and metal and looked ancient and not up to code.  I was convinced G was going to get tons of bruises from hitting his head and limbs on the metal (as he is sort of a violent sleeper, moves around quite a bit).  But after some reassurance from talking with my sister on the phone...I did decide to put him to sleep in the crib.  I heard him hit his head a couple of times through the night but he did not get any bruises. Overall he came out okay.  I just know that in the future I plan to call ahead to find out details on the cribs each hotel has...and I suggest you do the same!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Traveling with an Infant: Up in the Air

So we are finally back home safe in Chicago after 5 glorious days in the Florida sunshine!
Our travels were pretty smooth thanks to all of the helpful tips from my readers!
G and I on the Mote Aquarium boat tour of Sarasota Bay

So here's what worked for us on the plane:

1. Making sure everyone knew I was flying with an infant (even changing my reservation online before going to the airport to: "infant in arms").  Gate agents, TSA and flight attendants were mostly quite helpful once they could see I had a baby.

2. We took our snap 'n go stroller and car seat thru security and gate checked both.  (You do not need to pay for this, thank God!) Both went through security on the belt and then upon arrival at the gate you'll need to get gate tags for both.

3. I carried Gunnar through security after getting everything on the belt. I wore easy slip on shoes and took these off before getting Gunnar out of the car seat/stroller.  (Holding Gunnar helped me evade the scary new body scanner they had at the Sarasota airport...they let us walk through the normal metal detector) In Chicago TSA agents were helpful in getting the stroller and car seat up on the belt.

4. When boarding the plane, I put Gunnar in the baby bjorn so I could have my arms free to push the stroller down the ramp, put my bags under and above the seat, etc.

5. Once on the plane I got myself situated before buckling up. Taking off the baby bjorn (for some reason you're not allowed to wear them when the plane departs), grabbing my nursing cover (and putting it on), getting toys, burp cloth and my ipod out and putting them in the pocket in front of me.

6. The most universal advice I got was to make sure G was sucking on something when the plane ascended and descended.  This was a problem with my first flight.  Gunnar doesn't take a pacifier or a bottle so really my only option was to breastfeed.  But G had a major stomach ache on our first flight and was very fussy even before the plane left the ground.  I tried to nurse him but he kept pulling off. So out of desperation I offered him my fingers and he sucked away...stopped fussing and had no problem.  I was able to successfully nurse Gunnar for take off and landing on two flights, but he slept through one landing without a problem.  So I guess I'd say to not stress out about the sucking. Try to get them to do it...but if they're not screaming, obviously they're not in pain.

7. Changing G on the plane happened twice. The first time was very easy thanks to the fold down changing table behind the toilet. I just brought back a diaper, wipes, changing pad and a change of clothes, not the whole diaper bag.  The second time was MUCH more challenging. There was no changing table. So I had to put down the lid on the toilet and change G on top of that...which was really awkward because his poor head was tilted far back and I was so scared he was going to roll off on either side. I also found it really disgusting to put him on top of the toilet...so I laid down a ton of paper towels before putting him down and then scrubbed him down with hand sanitizer afterward.

8. Taking refreshments is challenging if you don't have someone helping you.  If you can chug water I suggest just asking for water without ice and chugging it...because you won't have room to put the tray down and you don't want to have to deal with holding a cup of ice.  It was also suggested to bring your own water bottle that clips onto your diaper bag (I had this and it was handy!).

9. Have a change of clothes for you and baby in your carry on. Gunnar had 2 blowouts on the planes...so that was very necessary. And G peed on my pants while I was changing him on the toilet...so Thank God I brought an extra pair of pants and a shirt with me!

So here is some great advice I wish I'd tried:

1. A boppy. I wasn't sure how I would use it...but once I was on the plane I could think of a ton of reasons why it would help.  Especially when G had a tummy ache.  (but laying him on a blanket on my lap on his tummy worked out just fine).

2. Disposable changing pads for the plane bathrooms. This was a great suggestion...I wish I had some...yeah the bathrooms are gross.

3. Many suggested talking to the gate agent about changing seats so that you could have a seat between you and your travel partner. That would have been sooooo nice. Unfortunately ALL of our planes were completely full. But it's definitely worth a shot. It was also suggested to request seats in the bulkhead (which I was able to do for our first flight) it is nice to have extra room in front of you.

4. doggy bags. This was a fail on my part. I usually carry these in my diaper bag but only had one left (which I used at disney)...I had to put one of G's pooped on outfits in a lunch bag...

SPECIAL THANKS to Sara Brown, Shelly Beissel, Kendra Johnsen, Lisa Murakami, Jenn McCarty, Emily Gunesch and Stephanie Houchens for the detailed responses you sent me!!! You are mommy hero's and my personal life savers!!!

Up Next: Hotel 101

My Aunt Pam is going to a baby shower and she wants to know what are the 5 most useful things a new mom needs when she gets home? What do you all think? Here's what I said:

1. Boppy 
2. a good swaddle  
3. TONS of breast pads!!! 
4. Lots of good nursing bra's and tanks 
5. a wrap (like my hoppediz) or a moby or Ergo or Mai Tai.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What we learned today: volume 4

1. Epcot was a great choice with baby Gunnar. Very little crowds (especially for spring break!) and very little, if any waiting in lines and TONS of character viewing.
2. Gunnar likes princesses! Especially those who have high pitch voices.
3. Pin trading at disney is less exciting when you have a baby to take pictures of everywhere.
4. The festival of flowers at epcot is worth seing!
5. Gunnar looks great in mouse ears!
6. We're excited to go home tomorrow and see daddy!!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What we learned today: volume 3

1. Gunnar sleeps well on vacation.
2. Gunnar likes the pool more than the ocean...just like his mom!
3. My friend and grad professor, Margaret, is the best babysitter..G loved her! And I got to see some fantastic theater today 'Las Meninas' at Asolo Rep! Congratulations to the whole cast! Beautiful show! But most proud of my mentee Lindsay Tierce in the starring role...wow!
4. It's fun to show off baby G to old friends and co-workers!
5. Never go to Cici's pizza again (at least not in Kissimmee) unless you want to see gobs of kids going crazy and their parents verbally abusing them (my personal nightmare).
6. ALWAYS BRING OUR OWN PACK 'N PLAY TO HOTELS FROM NOW ON!!!! (More on this in my vacation follow up when we get back).



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What we learned today: volume 2

1. 8 hours of travel + lots of socializing = 9 solid hours of sleep!!
2. Gunnar takes good naps in the sunshine state...(even at aquariums, on boatrides and at the beach).
3. Gunnar prefers to be held standing up on boat rides...which can be...difficult.
4. Gunnar was very uncertain, frightened almost, of his first encounter with ocean (gulf) water...but got used to the feeling with time.
5. Going to the beach in the late afternoon in March is quite pleasant (even for this non-beach lover) but the water is a bit chilly.
6. Gunnar looks pretty cute in a bathing suit!



Monday, March 21, 2011

What we learned today: volume 1

1. Gunnar gets a tummy ache when I drink orange juice. (Bad mommy choice before plane ride)
2. It is possible for baby to fall asleep on his tummy, on my lap, in cramped plane seat (who knew?)
3. Fingers work as well as the breast for sucking when ascending and descending on a plane.
4. When Gunnar is upset or overwhelmed it is best to talk to him in a high pitched voice, otherwise he will cry real tears (NOTE to ALL men...learn the art of falsetto speaking voice to please G)
5. Florida is still hot.
6. Gunnar is huge! (When compared to Stella his girlfriend, born 3 weeks after him...pics soon)


Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Great Diaper Challenge: Round 2

Round 1 Wrap Up:
So today we've finished off the Baby Nature Care pack of diapers.  Of the 38 diapers we had 3 pee thrus and 3 blow outs. Which isn't the greatest track record, BUT they did seem to be a little snug on G so I'm wondering if we'd have different results in the next size. The fasteners which are apparently only velcro do not adhere to anything except the top front of the diaper and themselves...which makes it very difficult to pack up (but this could easily be solved by putting tape or something at your changing station). I also noticed that bits of the diaper would rub off onto G's bum...no biggie to me, but it might matter to some.  G had a low grade diaper rash throughout this whole pack (but I wonder if it was still healing from use of the Huggies which made it pretty bad). And yesterday we did notice a yeast (jock itch) rash (but I don't know if diapers cause these, he's had a few since birth).  But I don't know...the environmental factor is HUGE to me. The fact that these diapers are biodegradable make them worth a second look. In fact I might consider a 2nd trial run with these the next size up. With Amazon subscribe and save program (and free shipping from amazon.com/mom or amazonprime) pricing comes to $0.24 per diaper.

So here's how they scored on each category (5 star system.  5 *'s=Best, 1*= worst)

feel:                ****
softness:         ****
fit:                   ***
fasteners:        **
fashion:           *****
eco-friendly:   ****** (yes it got 6/5!!)
price:               ***
reliability:       ***

Average:   3.75 out of 5 *'s

Next up: Round 2: Seventh Generation Diapers
Since I've already given these a try and we're going on a trip...I thought it best to go with these next as I know them to be pretty reliable for G.

Seventh Generation Diapers boast:

  • Premium Absorbency
  • Free of Chlorine Processing
  • Free of Fragrances & Latex
  • Free of Petroleum Based Lotions
  • Hypoallergenic
They also disclose all of the ingredients for their diapers which are as follows:

  • Chlorine free wood pulp fluff
  • Sodium Polyacrylate (SAP)
  • Polyolefin nonwoven fabric
  • Adhesives
  • Polyolefin film
  • Synthetic rubber elastic strands
Size wise...these seem to be much bigger than huggies or Baby Nature Care. And by bigger I mean longer. Which is really great for Gunnar because he does have a very long torso.  The brownish color isn't the prettiest diaper shade but it sure reminds you that these are made from renewable resources!  So wish us luck with these as we venture off to Florida this week!

In other news. I spoiled myself today with my first pedicure since Gunnar was born (amazing!!) and daddy and Gunnar tried out a new carry style with our Hoppediz woven wrap today! G loved it...even took a nap on daddy's back!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Plague of Mommyhood

In response to telling some cashier at Target that I was pregnant last year, she said "Ahhh... stock up on chicken noodle soup and green tea. When you're a mom you're sick all the time." I remember laughing along with her but thinking, whatever that can't be all that true. But now I'm beginning to understand.

Sickness has hit the Hammergren household once again.  I'd been noticing signs of sickness in Gunnar for days but didn't realize the extent of it until John started feeling ill two days ago and I began to feel it last night. Ugh. This is the 3rd illness that has attacked our home since Gunnar was born (we're normally quite healthy people, I swear). Great timing too. Just what I want to bring with me to Florida, a cold...and even worse, a baby with a cold.  I'm not sure how Gunnar got this illness but I'm certain that my immune system grabbed onto it because of my lack of sleep.

I think my body has forgotten how to sleep long stretches.  I can't remember the last time I slept longer than 3 hours at a time.  This is the plague of my mommyhood.  No matter how morbid it sounds...I'm constantly convinced something tragic is happening to my baby.  Maybe because he seems just too good to be true...I'm just constantly on edge.  The most common thought that runs through my head at any given point... "IS HE BREATHING?"  I don't know if it's the scare tactics they drill into your head during baby classes about SIDS or what but I can't get this thought out of my head.  So when I don't hear him...I think "He's not breathing!" Completely illogical. Ridiculous, I know! But I can't shake these thoughts out of my head.

And sooooo I get up, out of bed. Every 2-3 hours....even when he's still sleeping away. Sometimes I work myself up so much that I can't get back to sleep. And I lie in my bed and wonder...does every mom do this?? Or am I completely crazy?!


Thankfully, due to this icky illness...last night I was in a coma of sorts and slept in solid 3 hour increments before waking with the morbid thoughts.  And thankfully, after checking in on G to make sure he was *sigh* breathing...I was able to fall right back to sleep.  But I'm just hoping I can learn to relax a little more and allow my body to sleep the way I did when I was pregnant (before the uncomfortable period). 

Luckily I have the sweetest little boy. Despite sniffles, sneezing, coughs and likely a pretty sore throat...Gunnar is still all smiles and giggles. Eating and sleeping more as he should...but happy when he's awake.

Friday, March 18, 2011

20 Questions about Travel with Baby...

So First of all I must share my HUGE success with selling my clothes today! I brought in 4 huge bags and came back with one! Store owner Christen bought most of my clothes and offered me $355 in store credit or $231 in cash OR $173 in Store Credit & $117 Cash.  I took the $173 in store credit and $117 in cash!!! Not too shabby!! Christen said she hadn't made a buy like that in years and she loved all of my clothes! Yay for helping local businesses and helping myself in the process! Win-win!

I also must share the "made my day" moment of today...Dr. Jenn Berman (parenting guru and author of my go-to-Parenting Bible "Super Baby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the first 3 year") commented on my blog! Wow! I feel like I spend an hour every day with Dr. Berman as I refer back to the book constantly...and now she knows about me and my little G! That is just too cool! If you haven't checked out this book yet, you should...it's written well and has really helped me understand the kind of mother I hope to be.

Okay... Now here is the part where I NEED YOUR HELP!!!! I leave on Monday for my first plane trip with Gunnar...and I am more than apprehensive about the journey.  So to those of you mommies who are Expert Travelers (and by expert I mean...you've flown more than me...flying once makes you an expert in my book) Please answer any of these questions if you can.  And for you moms looking for the same advice I will post a blog after my trip with the advice that helped me the most!

So here goes nothing:

1. What are the "must haves" to bring on the plane?
2. What items should I check and what gets gate checked? (Do I have to pay for gate checking? Never done it... Do I need tags for gate checking?)
3. Any tricks for baby on lap, on plane?
4. Tricks for changing baby on plane?
5. I have the Chicco Key Fit car seat do I need to bring the base or is there a way to strap it in the rental car by itself?
6. Do you trust Hotel cribs?? Bring your own sheet?
7. What do you bring to the beach with a 4 month old?
8. How do you go through security with a baby? Baby Bjorn? How do I get my shoes off with baby?
9. What kind of blankets should I bring to Florida?
10.  Tricks on sleeping in a hotel with a baby??
11. Should I just forgo the bedtime routine (especially time)? Or stick to it? Or modify?
12. Hmmm to bring the full breast pump or just the hand pump (I rarely pump...maybe once a day, if that)? And breast feeding in a bathing suit?? Hmmmm....
13.  Anyone done Disney World with an infant? Which Park is best (we can only go to one)? What rides can you do with baby? Tips?
14. Swim diapers...do you have a preference (there only seem to be 2 kinds) swimmers or splashers?
15. Do I need to inform Delta that I have "infant in arms" before I get to the airport?? I can't find any information about this...
16. Sunscreen? Bugspray? Discuss...
17. Must have travel baby items?
18. What do you do with a baby who doesn't sit up yet at the beach? Just hold him? Hmmm....
19. What's the best travel advice you got before you traveled?
20. Did I forget anything??

and for your viewing pleasure...Baby Bunny Gunnar!
Comment below,  Email me: kirstinfranklin@yahoo.com or facebook me with your tips! Thanks in advanced!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Things are gettin' Done!!

So project "minimize the wardrobe" is going very well!!! I have paired down the dresses to a mere 49!! Not quite the 25 I was hoping for, but not bad considering I had 136 a few days ago...and let's be honest, I wear dresses like most girls wear jeans. I just need more. And with the exception of the "dressy" dresses still in Gunnar's closet I was able get rid of enough clothes to get everything into my small closet!
And I seriously organized that baby...I hope it never looks cluttered again! I even got anal with the hangars. Wooden hangers on top for dresses, cardigans/jackets, pants and skirts. And then black plastic hangars on bottom for long sleeved shirts and white hangars for short sleeved shirts.  Beautiful! And the bins up top are for clothes that don't work for breast feeding and then workout clothes.  Here are the fruits of my labor:
If you want to see the before click here
Looks so much nicer when you have similar hangars
Notice the dark hangars for long sleeve, white for short?
 Tomorrow I'm taking 3 huge bags to sell at my favorite thrift store in Lincoln Square: Savvy 2nd's and 1st's. 
I'm anxious to see how much I'll make from this purge. There are a lot of cute clothes leaving this house...but I just decided I had my time with them and it was time they found a new home!

Apparently I just don't have the urge to buy more clothes. I guess the purge just felt so good that I really don't want to add to the clutter...because I was out shopping today at the BIG mall! The only thing I bought for me was some much needed shoes (pregnancy did a number on my feet...I don't know what size they are anymore but they're no longer a 6.5 or 7...nothing fits!) So I bought myself some sandals for our Florida trip (and a cute floppy sunhat from Forever 21 for $5!) I also had to get a little swimsuit for Baby G. Hanna Andersson was having a swim sale! So we got him a cute suit and some sun hats!
G loves Miss Bethany!

Gunnar was such a good shopper today! He didn't cry once! He loved being in his stroller and hanging out in the Baby Bjorn for part of the trip. He loves the attention strangers give him. He sure knows how to get someone to talk to him...he ropes them in with his doll like eyes and then gives them a huge smile and giggle! Lucky G got to have a lunch date with Miss Bethany too! So fun to see her.

owl T's
I also finished the 15 owl shirts that were custom ordered from my Etsy shop for a shop owner in Atlanta, Georgia!  Look how cute they are all packaged up! (WARNING! Shameless publicity push: want one for yourself? Click Here: If this one isn't the size or color you want...I do custom orders! Just message me! Mention my blog and you can have a custom order for the sale price!!) 15 custom shirts...that's a good 20 hours of work right there folks...and money in my pocket! Thank the Lord! The shop owner contacted me today and said the  shirts were a huge hit in her shop and she already sold one today! She said she expects to order more very soon! Wow! Maybe I really am in business!

So although the cleaning schedule has taken a serious hit this week...it doesn't mean I'm not getting things done...I just had different priorities this week.  I'll be sure to give the house a good clean before we leave for Florida on Monday.