Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Book, the doctor and the internet...

Baby food facts are different based on every book or article you read.

Your babies first food should be rice cereal. Rice cereal is the McDonald's of baby food. Start with vegetables. Start with fruits. What the heck am I supposed to feed my kid?!?!

How is a new mom supposed to know what the right answer is regarding feeding a baby their first solids??? Everything you read contradicts what you read the day before! Honestly, I'm doing a combination of listening to my pediatrician, skimming articles online, talking to friends and going with my gut! There's so much information out there and it all overlaps, undermines and confuses the heck out of us new moms.

The only consistent fact I have found is this: When introducing a new food, give that same food for three (3) consecutive days before starting another new food. I guess that must really be a tried and true test if all the books, doctors, websites and real people agree on it!

Onto our next week of veggiedom - green veggies and introducing combos!

This week's menu:
Spinach and Rice combo
White potatoes
Sweet Potato and Potato combo

Something happened to the spinach and rice cubes when I thawed them out, so we skipped those and started peas instead. Peas are definitely not Alexa's favorite veggie, but she tolerates them. Tonight I'm giving her the first combo - peas and carrots! 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

3 Reasons Why a Naked Dinner is a Good Dinner

Alexa eats real food now...and by real I mean puréed veggie mush. I have learned a few lessons in our first week of veggiedom.

Lesson #1: Babies are messy eaters. Even if you think you have a neat eater on your hands check behind their ears and in their nose...somehow food always ends up there!

Lesson #2: Be prepared! Having a washcloth in the drawer NEXT to the high chair is not going to do anything for you when baby decides she wants to eat sweet potatoes with her whole body. A wet washcloth ON the high chair - now that's smart thinking!

Lesson #3: Orange veggies stain. Baby's wearing one of your favorite outfits? You better strip her down to the diaper if you ever plan on having her wear that outfit again! Every single bib, onesie and washcloth we've used this week now has orange spots all over it. Luckily, I immediately soaked the clothes so most of the stains came out of the clothes and bibs...the washcloths, forget about it. (*note to self - buying white washcloths for a baby, not your best idea ever.) Stick baby in the high chair just in her diaper and bib...clean up is a breeze!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Baby #2?!?!

 So, I'm totally starting to freak myself out. I actually uttered the phrase - "...with our second child.." and "..with my next pregnancy..." the other day. What?!?! When did this happen? When did I stop fearing the possibility, the thought of a second pregnancy, the actual idea of baby #2?

The nightmares of Alexa's birth are starting to fade and THAT is starting to scare me. They say once you forget about the pain and the terror of birth (and in my case - pregnancy) that that is when women get crazy ideas about having a second child. I think I might try and make myself relive the birth just to further postpone any crazy ideas that have possibly started popping into my head. Bring on the nightmares!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life of the Lazy

Dear Motivation,

My house is a disaster area. Clothes need to be washed, folded and put away. Vacation stuff still needs to be cleaned up...almost two weeks after we've returned. Three weeks (now technically 4 1/2 weeks) worth of mail needs to be sifted through, bills need to be paid (hopefully before they are late!) and flyers and newspapers need to be recycled. My floors are begging, no pleading, to be swept, vacuumed and mopped. There are so many things to be done! Let me know when your vacation is over so we can get started.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

4 Months Old

How is it possible that Alexa is already 4 months old? I can't believe that 4 months have really gone by already! In my eyes, she is so big now. She has learned to do so many cool and new things in such a short amount of time. She can already push herself up during tummy time and she loves to grab onto her toys and use them to pull herself up. The day she realized not only that she had hands, but that she is, in fact, in control of those hands was totally amazing! My little bean can't just lay around and let the world pass her by, she's sitting and standing in it watching everything and everyone and taking it all in. I absolutely love watching her discover new things. Every single day she is learning something new, regardless how minute it might be. It is amazing to see that look of concentration and determination cross her face and then to see the exciting light in her eyes as she realizes, "Yes, I did do that!"

I am so proud of the little bean we are raising. She surely is sprouting into an awesome kid. She's full of personality and curiosity. I can't wait to see what new adventures are in store for us!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My First Attempt at Baby Food - Carrots

On Sunday we get to give Alexa carrots. I'm super psyched to see how she likes real food! I mean, she's getting rice cereal now, but let's be tastes like cardboard. I bet she's absolutely going to love eating something with flavor!

I did a lot of research online about making your own baby food. I talked to friends who made their own when their kids were little. I also spoke with my cousin who now makes baby food for baby #2. Her kids have survived and are thriving so I figure she's a pretty great resource! After reading, talking and taking it all in, I came up with my own recipe for carrots...

5 carrots - (I used 3 large and 2 medium) washed (very well), peeled, and cut
1/2 cup of water - (I used tap water that I boiled and let cool)

Cutting board
Pot with lid
Ice Cube trays (I used 1 1/2)

Approximate time:
31 minutes (5 minutes prep, 21 minutes steaming time, 5 minutes puree and pour)

After gathering all of my supplies and getting all the carrots washed, peeled and cut I steamed them for 21 minutes, or until I could have mashed them with a fork. Since this was kind of an experiment I'll walk you through my process...

I originally only put the carrots on for 7 minutes. They were absolutely hard when I tested them, so I added another 7 minutes. They were softer at this point, but there was no way I'd have been able to mash them with a fork, so on we steamed! After the third 7 minute round they seemed good to me.

I drained them well in a strainer (I was worried about the nitrates!) and then added half to the container I would puree them in. I then added a little water (**NOT the water that the carrots were steamed in!). I started pureeing...added more water, added more carrots, added more water, etc. until I got the consistency I was looking for. I used 1/2 cup of water total. Depending on the consistency you're looking for you may need more or less water for your puree.

**Note, I am no baby food making expert!** I just winged it. Your baby might like a more watery puree, mine was medium thick. I tried to base it on how Alexa likes her rice cereal. I'll let you know how it goes over next week.

After the carrot puree was the consistency I wanted it to be, I used a tablespoon to scoop it into ice cube trays so I could freeze it in portions.

From what I've read online (and what I've been told), each frozen carrot cube is one serving. We shall see if one carrot cube fills up my growing gal!

**Update - The carrots were a hit! She absolutely loved them. I'm not sure if one cube is really enough for her, especially if I give it to her without the rice cereal, but this is a learning process. We'll see how tonight goes!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Little Fish!

I took Alexa to the pool down the street from our apartment at the Hummelhofbad. It was so great to see her reaction the first time I put her feet and then her whole body into the pool. At first she didn't seem too phased that she was even in the water...I'm not even sure she actually realized where she was! After I bounced her up and down a few times she finally tuned in to her surroundings. In all fairness, there were a LOT of kids at the pool, it was noisy and new, so I'm not surprised she zoned out. I think she was just trying to take it all in. Well, once she realized she was actually in the chilly pool she just chilled out. She was super content to float around sitting on my lap. She even let me lay her down and float around on her back, ears under water (for those of you who have done swim lessons with your little ones, you know...this is a big deal!). She probably would have floated around on her back all afternoon if it wasn't for the blazing sun blinding her. I'm so glad that she had such a great first experience in the water. It definitely opens up so many more possibilities of what we can do during the week and also different places we can go as a family on the weekends or on mini vacations!

On our way to the pool!
 Chilling in the kiddie pool

 All swum out!

 Mommy & Alexa at the pool

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Starting Solids

While we were in the U.S., I started Alexa on Organic Rice Cereal by Earth's Best. I've been giving it to her once a day in the evening around dinner time. I think that it has been helping to fill her up a bit more than what my breast milk alone was doing.

At her four month check up, the doctor was a little angry with me for starting her on cereal before she was actually four months old. What surprised me was that the doctor seemed more upset with me for feeding Alexa cereal on a spoon rather than giving it to her in a bottle! This was totally shocking. I told her I plan on continuing the cereal until we start her on fruits or vegetables and what would be her preference.

She told me to start her on veggies first, carrots to be specific, but not until she is exactly four months old. We'll be starting veggies on Sunday...her 4 month birthday :)

She also said that we could introduce a new vegetable every three days as long as she doesn't have any adverse reactions to anything we give her. Then, after four weeks of veggies to start her on meat (!) and also to add another meal. Four weeks later, add fruits and another meal. So, within two months my little bean sprout will be getting breakfast, lunch and dinner!!! Ahhhh where has the time gone?

As far as introducing new foods, I am a little nervous about giving her carrots. I have read quite a number of articles and blog posts about making your own baby food and what foods to start with and what foods to avoid. Surprisingly, carrots were on the foods to avoid list due to their high nitrate content. I am still going to do a bit more investigating into the whole carrot conundrum, but I am curious to know what other parents fed their babies first. Fruits or veggies? Which veggie did you give first? Any parents out there who make their own baby food...what did you serve first? Also, please feel free to send along any recipes that your baby really enjoyed!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jet Lag

Holy moly am I beat! A six hour time difference plus a nursing baby equals one exhausted momma! Alexa was so amazing both on the flight to the US and the flight back. After she ate her cereal, she totally passed out for the duration of the long haul flight. rock! I was actually able to sleep for almost an hour myself which was much needed. By the time we landed in Vienna I was totally shot. I slept for the majority of the drive back to Linz and we even took another short family nap once we got to the apartment.

Monday was a total killer. Thankfully, my mother in law stepped in and hung out with us all day so that she could lend a hand with Alexa and let me nap a little throughout the day. My one "cat nap" turned into a two hour long pass out session! Oops!

Alexa seems to be adjusting alright to the time difference. The only problem we're really having is that she won't go to sleep unless she is rocked (thanks Mom!) and has the boob as her binky. Any advice as to how to stop this would be great!

The absolute worst thing is that Michael is in Vienna all week and I'm alone with baby and our new inhabitant...jet lag.  I'm hoping that a good night's sleep will help and that the jet lag won't be so bad tomorrow.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Belated Father's Day!

In Austria, Father's Day was celebrated on June 8th this year. Unfortunately, Alexa and I were in the U.S. and didn't get to celebrate with Michael. However, I am somewhat awesome and we totally hid his Father's Day present in the apartment and were able to Facetime with him while he opened it.

He definitely loved his present, even though Alexa wasn't there to give it to him in person.

For his Father's Day present I printed out the poem "Walk with me Daddy" by Helen Bush. Then I used a washable rainbow colored stamp ink pad and made Alexa's footprints in the middle of the poem. I used yellow card stock to create a matte and then framed the poem. I really like how it turned out!

For U.S. Father's Day, Michael picked us up from the airport in Vienna. He was able to play all afternoon with Alexa and we even took a family nap together. Unfortunately, that was the extent of our celebrations. I am still hoping to get him one U.S. Father's Day present - this book...Go the F to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Here is the book read by Samuel L. Jackson. It's awesome!

I hope everyone around the world was able to spend a lovely Father's Day with their family!
Dear Husband,

After spending three weeks in the US with my family, I realized that... - Your side of the family has always been slightly less psychotic

 but that just means I have better stories to tell my therapist!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

I only hope that I love Alexa enough so that one day she'll do this for me ;) - For all the love you've given me, I will one day pay your nursing home bill

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Postpartum Belly

I went clothes shopping today for like the tenth time since having Alexa. Each and every time I go shopping for myself I start off really excited to find some new things to wear, within ten minutes of actually walking around the store I become totally discouraged and upset. This inevitably leads to me hating shopping and leaving with nothing. I am a stress eater so then I go home and eat some chocolate, candy, cake, frosting....basic crap food that is even worse for my super out of shape, working to get back to my before baby body. 

Anyhow, today I found a few things that fit AND look good!! Double score! However, some things that I bought and expected to fit I can't even get anywhere near buttoning. I am specifically struggling with pants. I need some jeans man! I cannot wear my maternity jeans forever! My brother said that I should take advantage of this time in my life and wear sweatpants everywhere. I just might have to do that.

I came home from shopping and this article, Postpartum Baby Bellies, was in my email inbox from Baby Center. The timing could not have been better!

It made me realize that every belly is different and every woman takes however much time they need to lose the baby weight and that i need to accept my belly how it is right now.  I think that eventually I will come to love my post baby belly, I just need a little more time.

9 months up, 9 months down, right?

3 1/2 months postpartum

Vacation's End

I hate when vacation comes to an end. I start stressing about it at least three days before it's even over. I get sad and depressed and wonder when my next vacation will be, or what I will do once I get home. The worst is when we don't have anything planned in the next few months. The end of vacation is AWFUL.

I've now been in the US for 2 1/2 weeks. The end of my awesome vacation is approaching far too fast. I started stressing on Monday. All these crazy thoughts start running through my head...."How am I going to fit all of this stuff in my suitcase? I hope the flight home goes smoothly. How many extra bags will I have to pay for? We have way too many things. How much stuff will I have to ship? I bought too much stuff. I can't believe three weeks has flown by so fast." It is a never ending inner-monologue that keeps me from focusing on anything else during the day and keeps me from sleeping at night. The only solution I can ever come up with is this - vacation should never end.

I've had such a great time with family and friends. Introducing Alexa to everyone has been amazing. She is such a lucky little girl. She is so loved by so many people! Thank you to all of my friends and family for making time to see us. Thank you to my dad and stepmom and my mom and stepdad for having us stay with them. I am so glad that Alexa was able to spend some good quality time with all of her grandparents!

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Awesome Crayon Craft Project

I love Pinterest! I love finding new recipes and cool home improvement ideas and most of all...I love the neat craft projects I've seen on there. A few months ago I saw this awesome post about a Crayola crayon craft idea. My mom and I decided to give it a try. I took pictures as we went along to give you an idea of how I did the project.

First, gather all of your supplies...
     *Crayola crayons (we used 47 crayons total, but collected the colors we wanted from the box of 120 crayons)
     *Canvas (we used a 12X16 sheet)
     *hot glue gun and 3-4 glue sticks
     *heat gun (or blow dryer)

Once all the materials were collected I organized the crayons into a rainbow. I wanted a simple project so I just used reds (7), oranges (6), yellows (6), greens (8), blues (7), purples (7) and pinks (6). I used 47 crayons all together. Once you open up your box of crayons you can choose the shades of each color that you like. Next I organized the crayons in the order that I wanted to glue them down in.

Once I had the crayons set up we got ready to glue them onto the canvas. We prepped the work area with newspaper to keep the melted crayons from ruining the table. Then we started gluing each crayon onto the canvas.

I wanted to see the Crayola written on each crayon so I glued them down accordingly. I've also seen some of the melted crayon art done so that the name of the color was face up. That was pretty cool too. Once all of the crayons are hot glued onto your canvas it looks like this...

Now you're ready to start using the heat gun to melt the crayons. **WARNING** the heat gun should be operated by an adult.  I started moving from the left corner to the right corner in a horizontal movement, but that didn't seem to do anything, so I tried focusing on just a few crayons at time with short vertical movements. This seemed to work much better!

As the crayons start to melt, you can use the heat gun to attempt to direct the direction in which the wax melts. I kind of just let it melt however at first and then at the end went over bigger globs with the heat gun.

The finished project! I can't wait to hang this in Alexa's room at home!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Urbano Family Madness!

I have a HUGE family. HUGE. My dad has seven brothers and sisters and those seven brothers and sisters have husbands and wives and children and children who have children. We make up an entire wedding without trying. We are a party everywhere we go. The word silent or quiet is an oxymoron to us. That is what I was brought up being a part of....crazy, loud, loving, fun, kissing, hugging, cheek pinching, story telling, fun loving, picture taking family. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. It is devastating to me that Alexa will not have that constant, crazy madness in her life.

We had a family barbecue for everyone to come and see Alexa (and me!) at my dad's house. It was amazing! ALL of my aunts and uncles were there which made me sooooo happy. My baby was held, rocked, snuggled, kissed, bounced, and played with by so many people that day...and she adored it!

Here are just a few of the pictures we took...

 Alexa and her Great Aunt Donna

 Great Aunt Loretta, Cousin T and Alexa

 Great Aunt Loretta and Great Uncle Tom

 Cousin Lennox and her mommy Ashley with Great Aunt Donna, Great Aunt Loretta and Alexa

 Great Uncle Tom, Grampa, Great Uncle Tom, and the back of Great Uncle Bob's head
(note the hairline...this is where Alexa's hairline comes from!)

 Great Uncle Tom and Great Aunt Cathy with Alexa

 Happy baby!

 Best favorite cousins: Alexa and Lennox

 Great Aunts: Donna, Loretta, and Andrea

Me and Aunt Donna

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Baby Antics #1

Babies like to pull tricks on their parents and family members. You know you've fallen prey to a little munchkin when the following has occurred...

The baby wakes up at an ungodly hour in the morning, crying, fussing and carrying on until everyone in the house is wide awake, playing with and cheering them up. Once this task has been accomplished then baby dictator decides it's time for a nap!

If this has happened to you, you should totally read The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee. It's basically the autobiography of your new life!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Alexa has a stuffy nose, keeps coughing and sneezing and her eyes are red and puffy. What does this sound like to you? I say it is allergies and I think it can be one of two kinds...seasonal allergies or she follows in her daddy's footsteps and is allergic to dust mites. So what do I do? I have honestly tried to ignore the symptoms in hopes that they will just vanish, but sadly this is not working, in fact, I think it might be getting worse. :( I guess it's time to acknowledge their presence. If we were at home I would feel completely comfortable asking the pharmacy for something to help make her more comfortable while nursing and sleeping. Unfortunately that is not exactly an option. I bought saline drops and a nasal aspirator (which she HATES) to see if that would help. I don't really think it did much. I might keep up with the drops for a couple of days to see if they do anything. The aspirator, yeah, that thing has got to go! It's scary enough to know that I can pull her brain out with it, and then to have her cry while I'm using it is not reassuring at all! So what do I do now? I'm kind of uncomfortable giving her medication that I've never heard of, haven't been told by a doctor to administer or that I have heard bad things about. This totally sucks.

Have any of your children ever had allergies? What did you do?

Friday, June 7, 2013


A friend of mine bought Alexa these two ridiculously adorable handmade princess tutus from Handmade Tutus in Ireland.

I thought they were so adorable so I ordered them for all of my little princesses in the US!

The girls absolutely adored playing in their princess tutus!

Thank you again Handmade Tutus , you have made these little princesses very happy!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mama learns to travel with a bean...

Traveling with an infant is definitely an experience. Normally, I fly through check in, security and find myself a nice spot at the gate...stress free travels! Traveling with the baby was not as difficult and stressful as I anticipated, but it definitely was not a breeze. In one of my earlier posts, Things You Shouldn't do While Wearing a Baby, I talked about all the stuff I've unfortunately dropped on Alexa while wearing her. Flying added to that list! Bread crumbs littered her hair like dandruff and I even found a piece of shredded cucumber in one of her neck rolls. Sorry baby!

I have mastered some new mommy skills on the train ride and flight. I can now do the "one handed coffee maneuver". I can get the to go lid off, rip open sugar packets and pour them in without making a mess and then get the lid back on all one handed! I've come to thoroughly appreciate binky holders. We managed to get from Linz to New York without losing or dropping the binky on the ground at all! Whoever invented these things is a genius and I'd say a parent too!

After having Alexa we registered for the Bipa Baby Club. It is basically just a store card where you are able to get discounts on baby supplies once a month. After registering they sent us a welcome package that included a diaper, a small lovey toy, baby butt cream and of course a tiny little pack of wipes. When I first saw the tiny pack of wipes I was annoyed. What the heck is that going to do for me?? Well, I decided to throw them into my purse on the way out the door. Smartest decision I've ever made. They were so handy, easily accessible and did not take up any room at all! Thank you makers of mini wipes.

A few other things I learned included how NOT to pack a diaper bag when traveling. I brought along a few books and toys to keep Alexa entertained while on the go. What I did not do, was think about how I was going to reach those books and toys while we were on the train, in the plane or in the car. I packed three board books, which are slightly heavy, so I put them on the bottom of the diaper bag. I stuck the diaper bag in my carry on to make it easier to maneuver around. I also threw my purse on top. When it was time to reach for her books I had to take out my purse, dig through the carry on and into the diaper bag and try to move everything else that I'd stuffed in there. Not the best idea. The changing mat, which was soooo necessary I couldn't even access because of where it was in the diaper bag/carry on mess.

Here are a few other things I learned on this adventure...
Only pack essentials in the diaper bag - put the rest in checked luggage
*diapers - bring however many you would normally use at home during the length of your travel time plus maybe 2-3 more. (Packing 1 diaper per hour of travel was RIDICULOUS and took up way too much space!)
*2 burp cloths (1 for spit up and 1 to cover up while breast feeding)
*a thick blanket (Regardless of the time of year! It was cold on the plane)
*a teether toy for baby to suck on and occupy themselves
*Book - as in one (1), no need to pack your library!
*an extra outfit (If you have a really pukey kid or one that has frequent poosplosions, then you might consider packing 2 extra outfits)
*bottles of pumped breast milk
*water in a baby bottle

On the way home, I'll be dressing Alexa in long sleeves and feetie pants (one piece jammies work well too!). It was very cold on the plane and I felt awful that her pant legs kept riding up and her legs were ice cold. I will definitely have at least 1-2 3oz. bottles of breast milk prepped and ready to go. Babies do no care if flights are delayed or if you cannot nurse right then and there. When they are hungry, they are hungry. Period. I will also be packing water in a baby bottle. As long as it is in a baby bottle and you try it then they will let you bring it through security. You might need it for formula or just for baby to have a little sip off of while waiting to board and get settled.

I wore a nursing bra, nursing shirt and a zip up hoodie. This was perfect for traveling! When you board and get settled, unhook your nursing bra on both sides for convenience and leave them undone until you get to your destination. Ask the flight attendant for a big bottle of water the first time they come around for drinks. Once you tell them that you're nursing they will be happy to oblige. Don't forget a few snacks for yourself. I brought three granola bars and they were the perfect snack.

Thanks to all of my friends who gave me tips and advice before my travels! You guys are helping me along in more ways than one.

To all of you parents getting ready to go on trips with your little ones...Good luck and Happy Travels!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Best Friends

Alexa is in her glory here! She has so many little friends and cousins and is eating up the attention!!

Lily and Alexa

Lily absolutely loved playing with Alexa on the floor and singing all kinds of songs to her.

"If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!"

Dakota and Alexa

Dakota was like a little mommy with Alexa. It was so cute to watch her hold Alexa and check on her while she was playing on the floor. 

Josi, Alexa and Juliana

 A Nan, a Pose and a Bean! Visiting with the Patti's in Pennsylvania was awesome! The girls thoroughly inspected Alexa and gave her a passing grade. Kara sent me a conversation between Jules and Josi after our visit and it cracked me up...
          Pose: I don't like babies.
          Nan: but you like Alexa...
          Pose: only because she is pretty.
          Nan: so if she was ugly you wouldn't like her?
          Pose: exactly

 Alexa, Juliana and Grace

Josi, Alexa, Jules and Grace