Sunday, December 13, 2015

Big boy bed

    Joel truly is on the fast track to big boydom. As I type this he is, for the second morning, fast asleep in his new big boy bed.
    (Okay I kind of cheated on this one. It's actually a little-big boy bed.)

    For Christmas, Aaron and I take the opportunity to be a bit more practical with gifts. (It helps that his birthday is in November.) This year we couldn't help but notice he was starting to look quite large in his crib. We talked it over and decided it was time to get him a toddler bed.
     We bounced around on ideas of a pirate ship bed, a construction truck bed, and settled on a simple brown bed with fun bedding.

    We asked his Aunty Amy to take hang out with him while we put the bed together and moved his crib out of the room.
   This was the most we could "surprise" him with the bed. Not wanting the bed to be a traumatic experience for him, we talked about the move to him for weeks in advance, and brought him with us the night before to buy it. We even let him help a bit in the beginning stages of putting it together, but I don't think he knew what it was. (Kid just likes helping us put things together.)

   After we had it all set up and ready we called him in to see what he thought. We got a great first reaction with a loud "WOW!".

He loves his bed. Not so much at bedtime- but what kid wants to go to bed?

      Cupcake brought him a gift from Santa on his first morning in his bed to reward him for being so big.
I'm still waiting for Santa to give me something for handling him growing up. I've deeply contemplated shoving him back into an infant outfit the past month.

Baby to boy

     For a few weeks I was fighting the thought that Joel's hair was getting a little... too much.

    His last haircut had left him without any of his baby curls, and I spent days agonizing over getting those curls back. I watched his hair grow out, I stalked him with a straight-egde trying to find any hint of a twist coming back. After declaring repeatedly that his unruly hair was simply growing out, I decided I had to face the facts and give him his first true blue big boy hair-do.

   I searched around for cuts I liked (it turns out, boy haircuts aren't all that diverse) and then hunted down a nice little-person oriented salon. After finding the one with the best reviews, Aaron and I dropped in and asked a stranger to take sharp blades to our precious boys head. Which oddly enough, Joel took quite some time accepting.

   His hair has never been quite this short, and I am learning all too well how hard it is to style boys hair if you are as out of the hair loop as I am. And just like that, in the time it took her to shave up his little head, my baby vanished and was replaced with an authentic little human.

My baby has officially become a little boy. And already, I'm beginning to see the little man he's going to become all too soon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


  Joel's 2nd birthday has come and gone, and I'm left wondering how on earth this happened in the blink of an eye.

    My tiny little baby has transformed into a walking, talking, full human with his own opinions (which he makes very known.) And let me be the first to say- he's pretty darn amazing.

   Santa must agree because on his birthday he sent a strange visitor. We were all a little put off by him at first. We read his story and after a discussion about this tiny guest, Joel tipped me off that the little guys name was Cupcake. ("Duh mom", he must have been thinking. "Don't you see the outfit he's wearing to celebrate ME?")

  Well, after that day the tiny guy was gone. Only to suddenly reappear a few days ago...

Cupcake is back. With a new story and a wonderful new tradition to start with my family.

   I know some people really dislike, or even straight out hate the Elf of the Shelf tradition. I personally couldn't be happier to start a silly tradition with Joel and give him small memories to smile back on. He seems to be catching on already (to the extent a 2 year old can.) He understands Cupcake moves around and says good morning and bye to him. He also understands that Cupcake has something to do with Santa... though I'm not sure he knows how to feel about that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


My Joely.

One year ago today, you decided it was time for our adventure to begin.

One year ago today, my wait was finally at the end, and you were on your way into the world.

There is so much about you that is special. Like, the way you kiss and lick the wall. Or the way you break into tears any time you see or hear another crying. 

Right now you are in your crib, fast asleep and stealing my heart all over again with every groan and every roll. And all the sentimental mommy feelings I'm having this week have been nothing more than a nuisance to you every time I snatch you up from playing to smother you in kisses.

Joel, you are amazing. You light up an entire room with a single smile, and amaze us all every day with everything you learn.

I know that you will grow to do amazing things. One day you will change the entire world in the same amazing way you have changed mine. 

I hope you grow to be patient and kind. Stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves. Be brave enough to follow your heart, it will keep you on the right path.

And above all, know that no matter what, if you are ever to lose your way and make mistakes- we will always be here to offer guidance, forgiveness, and most of all, unconditional, never ending love.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Goodbye, my friends

   This post is hard.

   It is hard to find a title for it. It's hard just bringing myself to write it. And to simply be in the position to write it is the hardest of them all.

    Puppy and Blue are dogs I have known over half my life.
    Blue came into the family when I was 10. My brother's dog, I would often ask him if I could babysit her. (For payment of course. I was a wise business woman, making ten cents for playing with her in the backyard.)
   Just about half a year later, I got Puppy. I'll never forget the day. My mom and I wandered into the SPCA thrift store just to look. In the back they had the dogs, and of course I had to look. All over dogs were jumping and barking, and in one kennel there was a puppy. Just a small puppy with a cone on her head, laying and staring at a family that was trying to coax her over to them, showing no interest in being their pet. She had recently been fixed, and handled the surgery pretty badly. She had no energy, no will to eat, and probably wouldn't make it.
    We learned that after the family had given up on her, and I approached the kennel door. She got up on her feet and came over, tail wagging a mile a minute.When I asked if I could adopt her, the SPCA worker didn't hesitate a moment before telling me yes, I could take her home that day.

   So we did. And Puppy became my very first friend in Nevada. My very first, and very best.
And after Blue, I think I was her best friend too.


     But like I said. I've known them over half my life. The fresh memories of bringing them home are 14 years old, and the puppies turned into large, graying dogs. Games of fetch became impossible with their failing eyesight and hearing. Their energetic dancing slowly faded away, and was replaced by weak legs that at times failed to lift them off the floor.

    So after weeks of watching them take turns falling, having days where they couldn't get up for hours at a time, and becoming too weak to eat, we had to make a hard decision and say good bye.

With no way to ask them if they were ready, if they were in pain, if they were tired and ready to go, we had to figure out the best thing for them. We had to make the choice to let them go, to spare them agony.

     I couldn't make that decision. As much as I love them, I couldn't bring myself to decide something so permanent. Something I had no way to even communicate to them. It fell to my dad to make the choice. And I knew it was right.


     On Monday morning I sat with them. I gave them hugs and kissed their ears, whispered apologies and "I love you"'s that they couldn't hear, but I hope they could feel. I sat between them and hoped they felt the never ending love until their very last moments. And then I sat with them longer, kissed them both again, and all but collapsed on them in tears when the realization hit me that they would not be getting back up. I sat and cried and stroked them until it began to feel different.

     Until they were carried away, I expected them to get back up.
     Even now, I expect to hear a bark. I expect to see a furry mass wagging a tail at me.
     I even find myself wondering where they are... what's going on with them. The image of them taking their last breaths won't leave me. I am grateful to have it, knowing they went peacefully and laid next to each other. But something about that image makes me feel more helpless than anything I could imagine.
     They were my dogs. And I was supposed to protect them. From the moment the vets began, I felt the strongest desire to stop it. To save them. But I couldn't. In the end the best thing for me to do, was to do nothing, but love them.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cloth diapering, Best Bottoms

    This will be one of many posts about diaper types and brands we're using (or have used) on Joel.

    Best Bottoms diapers are up first.

(Picture from

   Best Bottom diapers caught my attention with all the prints and colors. I fell in love with the fox patterns, their Christmas colored diaper, and their cow print. (And basically all the others.) We bought a few before Joel was born to try out, and have bought a few more over the months.

   Best Bottoms is an AI2 diaper (All in 2) or a hybrid. The waterproof covers (or shells) are sold separately from the absorbent inserts. While the covers are one sized (they have snap rises and will fit most babies from birth to toddler), the inserts come in sizes small, medium, and large. They also come in overnight, stay dry, and hemp. We have a mixture of all the inserts and personally, the hemp are my favorite (very natural and much thinner.)

   The shells can be used multiple times. If wet, just change the insert, wipe them clean, and put a new insert in them. You can also use prefolds or flats in the covers, and we often use them over fitteds at night. When I change Joel, I most often reach for a flat, a small doubler (an added insert that gives extra absorbency but not too much bulk) and a BB cover. Joel has been wearing them since he was only 2 weeks old, and at the start there is a learning curve to putting one sized diapers on newborns (with all cloth, not just Best Bottom). Despite that, we had no leak issues until Joel was older and simply peed too much for the inserts we were using. (Very simple fix).

      I love that when we are out for a few hours, or might be out later than we think, I can grab two covers and some inserts and tuck them into the diaper bag as extra/emergency diapers. They are simple enough for even non cloth diaper people to figure out. The only con I would say, is changing the insert does require you to touch the pee. We use wipes to unsnape the insert from the shell and toss it into the wet bag to avoid that.