Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wear Your Baby Wednesday - No Highchair? No Problem!

Let me paint a little picture for you...

You're flying from California to Massachusetts with your infant by yourself.  You have a layover in Texas and you are so looking forward to not having your lovely child on your lap for a few minutes.  You had planned ahead and packed some food for your little one so you head to the food court so you can both sit down and enjoy a quick meal.  But when you get there, they don't have any highchairs.  Not just that there aren't any available...there just aren't any there.  You could eat with your kid on your lap, but that would suck because you've had them on your lap for the entirety of your first flight, and they will be on your lap for the entirety of your next flight.  Instead, you get resourceful and MacGyver a highchair out of one of your trusty-dusty baby carriers...

**Sorry for the super crappy cell phone picture, I'm not the best photographer when I'm in the middle of a cross-country journey with a baby by myself, haha

I know, I know...I'm a genius.  Just kidding - I'm not the first person to do this, and I sure as heck won't be the last!  But, it's an incredibly useful trick to have up your Mommy sleeve, so I figured I'd share the different ways I know how to make a "mock highchair" out of different baby carriers since you never know when you'll need to tie your kid to a at the movies! (We do this regularly; the movie theater on base is super kid friendly and it's free (it only shows a few movies on the weekends, but still, it's free, so I'm not going to complain!))
"Girl, you better not be going after my popcorn!!"

I guess I should get down to business and actually show you how...first, with a Mei Tai or (like I prefer) a Half Buckle (which has a buckle waist instead of a tie waist...I promise I'm going to do a baby carrier 101 post soon, it's just taking forever for me to put together):
  1. Buckle or tie the waist around the bottom of the back of the chair.
  2. Place baby in the chair with their legs spread apart.
  3. Wrap the straps around the back of the chair and back to the front
  4. And tie in front!
If you have a smaller baby that actually needs help sitting upright you could tie the straps higher up under their arm pits; since W is plenty stable enough, I just tie in front of his waist.

I even had a friend use a Soft Structured Carrier (an Ergo, to be exact) in a similar fashion and she gave me permission to share one of her photos of her adorable little man:

In case you can't tell she simply buckled the waist around the bottom of the back of the chair, placed baby in the chair, then looped the arm straps around the corners of the back of the chair.  Odds are you'll have to adjust the length of your straps to do this.

Last but not least, I actually whipped up a little how-to video for you for how to use a woven wrap!

**Please excuse my comfy clothes; I'm pregnant, I'll wear what I want!

So there you have it, yet another reason to add to the list of why everyone needs to wear their babies, or at the very least have a baby carrier at their disposal!  If you have any questions, as usual, feel free to ask!

What handy tricks do you have for when you're out and about with baby?

The following screen shot is only there so I can pin directly to this page.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Baby Deux - 9 Weeks

Week 9!  Even though we still have 31 looooooooong weeks left, I feel like this pregnancy is actually going by faster than when I was pregnant with W.  It may help that a) my husband isn't going to be gone the whole time b) I didn't just move here so I have friends and thus have stuff to do and c) I have a toddler to chase around all day.

I'm actually feeling a little bit better this week!  Despite W not sleeping well at all (he's waking up 2+ times a night and is a pain to get to go back to sleep) I'm not quite as exhausted.  I'm still having random waves of nausea but they come and go much quicker than they did last week.  And, I was actually able to get my butt out and go for a run!  All of this, along with the fact that my pregnancy acne is showing up already, really makes me think I'm closer to 10 weeks than 9, but we won't know until our first ultrasound on July 3rd.

Before I got pregnant, I was working out six times a week.  It was a complete habit, and I was happy with how my body looked.  Then the exhaustion kicked in and I could barely carry W upstairs to change his diaper, never mind go work out.  Now that I'm starting to feel better I really want to focus on staying fit.  When I was pregnant with W I ended up gaining almost 60 pounds; that's completely unnecessary, unhealthy (it probably contributed to my severe gestational hypertension), and it was a pain in the ass to lose the weight.  I ended up losing all but like 2 pounds of it, but it took me a year.  I do not want to go through that again.

So, I'm going to try and workout at least three times a week for the remainder of the first trimester.  Hopefully I'll feel good enough for the majority of the second trimester to kick that up to 5 times a week, and then when I get huge and miserable I'll go back down to three.  Sunday I went for a run, yesterday I went for a walk (but I don't consider that "exercise" although it's better than nothing) and today I plan to go to the small gym at the community center on base (it has a "kid's room" that W can play in) after W wakes up from his nap.  Then maybe after that I'll work on his swimming (aka work on him not freaking out as soon as he gets in the pool, haha) since the pool is right there.

Did you maintain your exercise routine during your pregnancy?

Monday, June 24, 2013

MmmMmmMmm-Monday - Fruit Pizza with a Homemade Sugar Cookie Crust

I came across this recipe on Pinterest and I knew I had to make it, so when I was invited to a Summer Solstice Potluck last Friday, I decided it was a perfect chance!

I'm not going to lie though, I think it's kinda dumb to use a store bought sugar cookie dough; I mean, sugar cookies are the easiest thing on the planet so I made mine from scratch.  For that, I used this Martha Stewart Recipe:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (please don't ever buy imitation vanilla extract, the real stuff is worth the extra money...I promise)
  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy.  With mixer running, add egg, milk, and vanilla; mix until well combined.  With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture.  Mix until just combined.
  2. Transfer dough to a work surface.  Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
At this point we're done with that recipe.  Next I shaped the "crust" of the pizza.  I only used about 2/3 of the cookie dough (or else it wouldn't have fit in my container to transport it to the party, haha) and the easiest way to make one big circle is to place the ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper.  First mush it down, then use a rolling pin to roll it out to about 1/8 of an inch trying to keep it as round as possible.  Pull off the top piece of wax paper, and you can keep it on the bottom piece to bake it so it won't stick to your cookie sheet.

The massive cookie needs to be baked at 350 for 10-15 minutes (until it is a golden brown color).

Next we make the "sauce."  Take a softened 8 ounce package of cream cheese and a 7 ounce jar of marshmallow fluff and beat them together.  Voila - that's all you have to do for the sauce!

Finally you spread the sauce on the crust and decorate with whatever fruit you want!  The recipe I referenced says to not put it together more than 45 minutes before people will be eating it or else it will get soggy, but I didn't have that issue (maybe because she used crappy, store-bought crust...just sayin').

It was super delicious!  I used plums, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes on mine (and all of that except the grapes were from our local farmer's market).  I 100% recommend it for any summer parties you plan to attend!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Contact Dermatitis

What I really wanted to title this post is - I Flipping Hate Catch-All Diagnoses That Doctors Use When They Don't Know What the Eff is Wrong

WebMD simply states the following about contact dermatitis:
You call it a rash. Your doctor calls it dermatitis. Either way, it happens when your skin gets inflamed after it comes in contact with something.
W has had a rash now for almost a month.  It started on his left thigh.  Traveled down his leg.  At this point we brought him to the Immediate Care Clinic on base.  The doctor there diagnosed it as ::insert some Latin sounding word here:: and prescribed him a cream and Benadryl, said it should clear up within a few days.

A few days pass, it spreads to his other leg.  I try to get an appointment with his pediatrician but the Central Appointment Line says there's nothing available in peds for 10 days!  So I call the pediatrician clinic directly and they say to bring him in, they'll have a nurse check him out and squeeze him in with one of the doctors.  We were there for 3 hours during which two nurses and two doctors spent a ton of time staring at my son and flipping through a book of skin ailments trying to figure out what the heck is going on.  They settle on contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is a diagnosis they use when they can't come up with a real diagnosis.  They don't know what caused it.  They don't really know how to fix it.  But they can't just say that, so they call it contact dermatitis.  I hate stupid catch-all diagnoses!!!

They prescribe him more cream (this time hydro-cortisone) and a different antihistamine.  I insist on scheduling a follow up appointment for four days later (they, once again, claimed it should clear up within a few days).

It then spreads to his shoulders and arm pits.  This is what my poor baby looked like at his worst:

Arm Pit

Upper Arm
Other arm

 I couldn't get a decent picture of his thigh because he was squirming so much, it actually looked more like his arm pit (the first picture).

top of legs
Those pictures really don't do it justice.  His legs were bright red.  His left thigh didn't have any normal looking skin left.  Any time he would step on the grass his legs and ankles would actually swell up.  The stuff on his arms and shoulders wasn't really red, just bumps everywhere (except for his arm pit, that was bright red as well).

When I went to the follow up appointment the doctor simply put there was nothing more they could do.  They would have to refer us to a dermatologist so that they could prescribe a stronger steroid ointment to use on him.  That appointment ended up being scheduled for next Monday (the 24th).

I hate the idea of using a stronger steroid on my son.  There have been studies that show that long term use of topical steroids in children can actually cause growth delays.  Not to mention extended use of steroids are known to cause the following in people of all ages:
Thinning and discoloration of the skin, easy bruising, permanent dilation of certain blood vessels, burn marks on skin, itchiness, perioral dermatitis, liver and kidney damage and a weakened immune system. Recent studies further reveal changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems and impotence. Not only this, but steroid use almost always produces a "rebound effect" of the very symptoms you are trying to get rid of!
Studies have shown that if more than 500g of hydrocortisone (in hydrocortisone cream) is used per week, sufficient steroid may be absorbed through the skin to result in adrenal gland suppression and/or eventually Cushing's syndrome.

I have no idea what the dermatologist will say, but my gut instinct says that it is an environmental issue.  We live in Lemoore (not by choice, it is where The Sailor was sent by The Navy).  Lemoore happens to be surrounded by basically all the cities that most recently made the EPA's list of the dirtiest (in regards to air and water quality) in America.
1. Fresno, CA
2. Bakersfield, CA
5. Modesto, CA
6. Riverside, CA
8. San Jose, CA
9. Stockton, CA
12. Sacramento, CA
17. Los Angeles, CA
I circled the cities that surround us that made the top 20; we are located under the purple star.

I think a mixture of the extreme heat, the pesticides that are regularly circulating through the air from the farms that literally surround the base, and the poor air and water quality are making my son break out.

Over the past week the rash has improved.  But, over the past week the weather has been much more mild (in the 80's rather than the 100-110's) and I haven't brought him outside to play at all except for brief times out on our patio.  My son cannot be expected to stay inside until we get new orders next summer!  If the rash is being caused by local environmental factors, odds are I will have to get a "note" from the dermatologist and fight the higher ups in The Sailor's command to get new orders.  I will not risk my son being scarred from such a deep and wide spread rash.

Hopefully the dermatologist has a better idea of what's going on.  Honestly, as much as we hate it here in Lemoore (it literally smells like cow shit all.the.time) and we would love a reason to peace out sooner rather than later, I just want my son to get better.  I hate that there's nothing I can do to help him.

Have you ever dealt with doctors trying to give your child a catch-all diagnoses?  Any guesses as to what's wrong with poor little W?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Baby Deux - 8 Weeks

This week has been odd, to say the least.  Starting on Saturday I was intermittently having really intense, stabbing cramps.  Then on Sunday I spiked a fever of 101.3.  I was able to get it down with Tylenol, but I called the OB on Monday just to see if they thought I should come in, and they did.

Before I continue with this story I kinda need to explain the hospital on base.  Essentially it's a long hallway with different clinics lining either side.  Everything you need is there.  Family practice, pediatrician, radiology, lab, immunizations, pharmacy...everything.  Including an "Immediate Care Clinic."  So literally, the OB is a 30 second walk down a hallway from the ICC.

I got there and I knew I would be waiting a while, it is, after all, essentially an emergency room (luckily The Sailor was able to come home from work so he could watch W).  I ended up being there for 4 hours. They ran a bunch of tests, couldn't find anything wrong with me, even checked my HCG and it was in a normal range.  But since they couldn't find a cause for the intense stabbing pains I was having the ICC doctor wanted to have an ultrasound done.  But the only clinic that has an ultrasound machine is OB - and the doctor "on call" said if there's no bleeding and I'm less than 10 weeks there's absolutely no reason to do an ultrasound; come back when I start bleeding.

Are you kidding me!?  I'm so sick of the experience I'm having at this hospital already!  And the sad part is, I had such a great experience with W throughout my pregnancy that was one of the main reasons we got pregnant again so quickly (since we will likely be transferring next summer).  It's just so disappointing.  I know if something were wrong, odds are there would be nothing we could do about it.  But still, it sucks to worry all.the.time.  And I know there are like a million pregnant women right now, but that doesn't mean they should be asshats to us!

Apart from that, I'm still tired, get randomly nauseous, and my lovely ::sarcasm:: pregnancy skin is coming back.  The acne has already started and the itchy scalp and dandruff is full force!  It actually makes me think I'm closer to 9 weeks than since that didn't start till I was much closer to my second trimester when I was pregnant with W.

I don't have a belly picture this week (oops)!  But I do have some really cute pictures from W's first fishing trip (which is what The Sailor requested to do for Father's Day)...

It was really nice to get out of the desert and go to Lake Kaweah...

 Watching Daddy get the hook ready...
 Having an apple sauce break...
 Look how handsome my men are!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wear Your Baby Wednesday - Why EVERYONE Should Babywear!

This post is really hard for me to put together without either a) overwhelming you and becoming boring or b) missing out on some of the great and important benefits of babywearing.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I do not know how I, personally, would be able to be a parent without babywearing.  But before I get into my more selfish personal reasons for wearing W (and my future kids), I'll try to cover some of (what I think) are the more important scientific reasons.

Wearing a baby promotes physical development. When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes - walking, bending, and reaching.  This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. (from

In other words, when someone tells you that if you keep wearing your baby all the time they're never gonna walk you can straight up tell them they're wrong.  Wearing a baby actually drastically improves their sense of balance and helps get them used to movements beyond uncontrollable arm flailing.

Babies worn in slings are happier.  Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss... Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby's developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones.  Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. (from

We all know a baby is a lot less likely to be screaming their head off if you're holding them, but despite not weighing much they get heavy quick! Babywearing allows you to hold your baby, and in turn keep them happy, without your arms falling off.  And obviously a happy baby is much more likely to be able to observe and learn from their environment than a screaming one.

Babywearing can help improve your breastfeeding relationship with your baby.  Breastfeeding mothers who practice babywearing find it easy to nurse their babies more often.  This may help babies gain more weight.  The shorter the time between feedings the higher the fat content in mother's milk.  By wearing baby, a mother can easily respond to his early feeding cues. (from

Again, this one just makes sense....keep your baby right near the source (aka your boobs) and breastfeeding will come more naturally.

I could keep going all day, but before this gets too long and boring I'll cut myself off.  But, I encourage you to pop over to Boba's website to read this article on the health benefits of babywearing and Onya's website to read this article on why you should wear your baby and leave your car seat in the car!

So now, a few of my personal reasons why everyone should wear their baby...

You can get stuff done. We've all been there...I've been there more than once.  Your son's birthday party is this afternoon, and yesterday was crazy so you never got to bake the cake, but your husband is busy setting up for the party and your son will not nap.  What do you do?  You wear them on your back and bake an awesome cake (yes, this is the exact story of what's happening in the photo above).

You can go places you can't go with a stroller!  Stairs and strollers don't get along.  Hell, in my opinion, large crowds and strollers just don't get along.  Babywearing means you don't have to be restricted to where you can go by the small wheels of your stroller.

It keeps your baby happy and prevents them from running away from you.  The picture above was while we were waiting for The Sailor to get back from deployment.  We were in the hangar bay (not the best place for a baby to be crawling around) and we were waiting for hours.  While other babies were losing their tempers, W was chill hanging out in our wrap.  It's also great for shopping trips where you know they'll be content in the cart for the first half, but the second half they'll want you to carry them and then you're stuck carrying a baby (or toddler) and pushing a cart.  Not fun.  But, what's even less fun is waiting in line at the grocery store with a screaming baby.

You can go out and do stuff.  How else would you go mini golfing with a baby?  Seriously.  You can't maneuver a stroller through any of the mini golf courses I know.  It isn't a safe place to let them sit on the ground.  Because of babywearing, our family isn't restricted on the fun things we get to do.  We even went fishing on Sunday and The Sailor wore W on his back!

You get to bond with your baby without your arms falling off.  Seriously - I love the snuggles.  Even now at almost 15 months old W will still snuggle with me in a sling or wrap.  I will wear him until my back snaps in half just to enjoy the snuggles I get to have with him.

So there you have it.  A bazillion reasons (both scientific and just plain practical) to wear your baby.  I'm still working on a post about the basics of babywearing that will probably be broken up into two separate posts - one on babywearing safety and one on the different types of carriers.  Then down the road I plan on doing a post just about woven wraps because they're intimidating to many parents, but they're amazing.

Do you wear (or plan to wear) your babies?  What's your favorite benefit of babywearing?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Inexpensive & Easy DIY Patio Water Mister/Sprinkler

We live in Central California.  It is hotter than Hades here for most of June through September.  Last weekend I'm pretty sure it hit 110.  So, I wanted to buy or make some misters to put on my back patio to make it bearable on those horrible days.  Like any female these days, I turned to Pinterest!  And I found these instructions to make a "drive through kid wash" that we altered a little bit to create what we wanted.

Step one was acquiring all the supplies.  Our local Home Depot and Lowe's don't carry the mister jets mentioned in the instructions I found so I did was I usually do when I can't find something locally - searched on Amazon.  Lucky for me I found some (and they were Prime eligible - woot for free 2 day shipping); these are the ones I ordered.  Then we went to Home Depot to get 1/4 inch PVC (we bought 1 piece and had it cut in half), Teflon tape, PVC glue, an end cap, an L bracket (so the section where the hose connected to the pipe would be hanging straight down), and a threaded female hose connector.  All of that stuff was about $10.

We decided for the length of pipe we were using, 8 jets would be enough, so The Sailor marked and drilled the holes in the pipe for me (he used a 1/8 drill bit for the jets we got off Amazon).  Then we had to get the jets in the holes.  Luckily, they will dig their own threads, you just have to push down and twist at the same time.  In order to seal the holes, first we wrapped the threads of the jets in Teflon tape.

Then The Sailor had to screw them in because it hurt my fingers, haha.

Then I just put PVC glue on the inside of the end cap and put it on one end...

And use the PVC glue again to attach the L bracket to the pipe, and then the hose attachment to the L bracket...

And then we let the glue dry for about 10 minutes!

We weren't exactly sure how we were going to mount it to the roof of our patio and The Sailor ended up coming up with the solution; he screwed to small pieces of scrap wood into the ceiling that the pipe could then rest on...

Voila!  DIY Patio Mister that we only actually used about $11 worth of materials (we have tons of the jets left over, half the pipe, and almost all the Teflon tape and PVC glue) and only took about 15 minutes to assemble!  All that was left was for W to try them out.

We started just playing with his water table...

 And then I turned on the hose....

He hated it!  Haha!  But, it isn't that hot out, so maybe on a hotter day he'll appreciate it more.  It took about 20 minutes of breastfeeding to calm him down.

Do you have any outdoor DIYs planned for this summer??

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Baby Deux - Week 7

So, last week I had my first appointment...and it was a total bust.  When I was pregnant with W our first appointment was a general intake as well as a dating ultrasound.  Since I just had him at this same hospital 14 months ago, I figured we could kind of skip the whole intake thing since they had all my info and get right to the good stuff...the ultrasound!  Well, apparently, they just throw away your file after you deliver so I had to give them my family history, etc. all over again.  And let me tell you, I was not thrilled about the fact that I had to find a sitter for W so I could go tell the hospital that delivered him about that delivery.  That's insane people.

Then, the nurse said she could get me in for a dating ultrasound at the end of July.! End of July would put me at approximately 14 weeks (and that's if I ovulated when I thought I did) and since I have a family history of chromosomal abnormalities I would like to get an NT scan, which has to be done between 12 and 14 weeks.  When I said that to the nurse, her response was, "no it doesn't, you can get that whenever."   Again,!  I had to look it up on my phone and show it to her!  

So I have to get my first ultrasound and have a buffer of at least two weeks (since it takes a week for the referral to get through and I'm assuming at least a week to actually get the appointment with the specialist) before I can get the NT scan - and I had to explain that to her!  Insane!  I was not happy.  And I don't get to see my little gummy bear until July 3rd which makes me even less happy.

Apart from my less-than-stellar first appointment I'm still exhausted and I randomly get super nauseous.  No actual throwing up, but a really intense desire to so bad that my mouth starts watering just like it would before you throw up.  Oh, and I've wanted a buffalo chicken salad from Chili's like every day in this last week.  Since take-out isn't an option every day, I've been making them at home with lazy-person frozen chicken tenders.

I even made bacon to put on it. Nomnomnomnom

Did you have to re-give your medical history if you delivered at the same place twice?

Monday, June 10, 2013

MmmMmmMmm-Monday - Classic Diner Style Blueberry Muffins

When I was in high school I worked in a diner.  Cute, little, family run place (actually my two sisters and I all worked there) with classic, greasy diner food.  One of my favorite things to get for breakfast was a "grilled" muffin which although it was technically heated up on the grill, they did it in a large dollop of butter, so it's more fried than grilled.  Still to this day, my favorite way to eat muffins is to pan fry them.

Blueberry muffins are something that I really don't think you should mess with.  I don't want any crazy spices or flavors in them, I just want a blueberry muffin.  So my favorite recipe is actually the one from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Not only are they delicious, it's a super quick and easy recipe.

1 3/4 c all purpose flour
1/3 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 c milk
1/4 c cooking oil
1/2 c blueberries (the recipe calls for 3/4 c but that's way too much for my taste...I like more muffin in my muffins)

And I add sugar in the raw on the top

Put liners in your muffin pan and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  (I always sift my dry ingredients together, although the recipe doesn't call for it)

In another bowl combine egg, milk, and oil.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add egg mixture all at once to it.

Stir until moistened (it's a thick, lumpy batter).

Add blueberries and stir again.

Spoon batter into muffin pan and cook for 10 minute.

Remove muffins and brush with a little bit of milk then sprinkle with sugar in the raw (the milk helps it stick).

Cook for another 10 minutes - et voila!  Delicious and simple blueberry muffins!

There are like a million reasons to pan fry your muffin.  Didn't cook all the way through?  Pan fry it - it'll finish cooking it.  Cooked it a little too much and it's dry?  Pan fry it - the butter will make it less dry.  Don't like a cold muffin?  Pan fry it - it'll heat it up.

But the most important reason is it's effing delicious and adds a crispy, fried layer to it ::nomnomnom::

All you do is heat up a skillet (if I had a cast iron skillet, this would be a perfect use for it, but alas, I do not) throw some butter on there and cook the muffin until you think it's "done."

Then you can throw it on a plate with a few strawberries and take pretty pictures of it...

Sooooo good.  And it's Wesley approved!

Please notice Gabby hoping he's dropping something off the side of his high chair.


**All personal photos**

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