Monday, September 16, 2013

Four Months

One third of Malcolm’s first year is officially behind us! Yikes! This month Malcolm visited the daycare at our gym for the first time so that this Mommy could get in a little exercise that doesn’t involve carrying a baby, pushing a stroller, or coordinating with Daddy’s schedule after work! Fortunately, the 9:30 a.m. group classes coordinate nicely with his morning nap. One of the daycare employees happened to notice us in the pool a few weeks ago and commented how he always falls asleep easily while he’s there! The best part of the facility is there are two cameras set up that correspond with channels on the machine televisions, so I can keep an eye on him while I’m squeezing in my cardio!

Other firsts for Malcolm this month include meeting our amazing (might-as-well-be-family) friend Jane and her sweet granddaughter while they were visiting the Windy City! Daddy even got in some solo time with Malcolm while the girls went to see the Jungle Book musical downtown! (The costumes were incredible!) The bonus time with Daddy opportunely came right before J headed to Albuquerque to celebrate his Granny’s 90th Birthday! The (very short) weekend trip was planned when we were still expecting Malcolm, and not knowing what to anticipate as far as his health, we decided to send J alone and wait to introduce Malcolm to the crew in New Mexico when we’re there at Thanksgiving.

On Malcolm’s three-month birthday, we had a chance to meet several new (to us) couples who live in the Oak Park area and attend our same church! Since discovering we live within blocks of one couple (although we’ll be wishing them bon voyage soon), Malcolm and I managed to meet Mrs. Remy for lunch and a walk around the neighborhood twice this month!

Our big project this month has been reorganizing our home office. Jordan and I bought a 1928 Berwyn Bungalow in April of last year. It had already been extensively renovated by a contractor who purchased it shortly after it was foreclosed on in 2010, but we have invested additional blood, sweat, and tears making it home. Aside from some long term plans to improve the yard, basement, and add a bathroom on the second floor, the last room needing some TLC is/was the office. To my shame, it had become the “don’t know what to do with this, stick it upstairs and deal with it later” room. Well, we decided that “later” is now and I had my work cut out for me!

When Jordan and I got married we just combined the files we both maintained in one big filing cabinet, but never really combed through to determine what we needed to keep. We just celebrated our five year anniversary on August 9th, so as you can imagine we’ve accumulated additional paperwork in that time, particularly since I got pregnant! My word, I never knew that having a baby came with so much paper! When I finally sat down to tackle my paper hoard, I was on the phone with my mom and absently mused how I could really use her help with Malcolm so I could stay focused! She called me back an hour later asking if I was serious, to which I excitedly answered, “YES!” and shortly thereafter she had a ticket to arrive three days later!

Anyone who knows my mother knows that she is a talented seamstress! When we bought the house last year she came for a few weeks and managed to sew absolutely GORGEOUS floor length grommetted curtains for nearly every room in the house! Other than the basement, guess which room was the only one lacking curtains? We set up camp upstairs while I sorted, Momsie sewed, and we took turns entertaining MW! After three days of hard work (seriously people – we had restaurant receipts dating back to 2004), Momsie managed to complete curtains for the office and alter the curtains in our master bedroom, and I managed to condense six completely full filing cabinet drawers into two (and about ten trash bags). To reward ourselves for a job well done (even though I still have a few items to sort through) we spent the last day of her visit soaking in the beautiful day by walking around an outdoor shopping center!

It felt so good to purge so many things from our home, I am completely embracing the “live with less” philosophy! Nothing is safe - the Amazon trade-in store is my new best friend! One motivation for organizing the office is that I am now officially working on a from home, part-time, hourly contract basis for my company! As my maternity leave was vanishing like quicksand, the idea of putting Malcolm in daycare (for more than an hour at a time) brought on the waterworks. I completely understand that some families do not have a choice in the matter, or that some mom’s feel like they actually parent better when they are employed outside of the home, but personally, I can’t imagine missing a single milestone. I went in to talk it over with my amazing boss, fully expecting an affable parting of ways, but to my delight he offered this alternative! I will basically handle overflow at busy times, so as of yet I haven’t been assigned anything, but I am thrilled that the door isn’t closing on my experience as an environmental consultant and we’ll have a little supplemental cash flow!

Speaking of supplemental income, I have also recently seized an opportunity to become a brand partner for a skincare company called Nerium International. Pregnancy was basically like second puberty to my skin – only worse! I suddenly had skin discoloration I’ve never had before and breakouts in new places. I was hesitant to try any new skin treatment when I was pregnant or breastfeeding, but a college friend started posting about her experience with Nerium on Facebook and I HAD to ask. She has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know (I mean, the girl works from home running a non-profit that builds wells in Uganda dedicated to stillborn children like her sweet son Holden), so I knew she wouldn’t sell me a bad bill of goods. She had some facial scarring that significantly diminished after a month of using Nerium and decided to get on board (despite a previous negative experience with direct sales) because she believes in the product. I decided to try it out for a month (there’s a 30-day money back guarantee) and after seeing improvements in my skin I was sold on it, too! Nerium is all-natural (would be certified organic if it didn't contain collagen). It was developed during skin cancer research at M.D. Anderson while studying the effects of the Nerium oleander leaf. It's a proprietary blend, primarily used as an anti-aging product, but it tightens pores, so it also reduces acne, skin discoloration, and the appearance of scars and stretch marks. There are only two products: the original Nerium AD night cream and the new day cream for accelerating results. In clinical trials, subjects using Nerium saw around 30% reduction in wrinkles versus most cosmetic counter products which test around 2-4%. End of sales pitch (and I’ll try to avoid this in the future), but if anyone wants more information check out:

Back to Malcolm Wayne (everyone’s favorite topic), he actually changed his mind about swimming this month and really started to enjoy the water, he’s also discovered he loves sticking out his tongue and rolling from side to side on his activity mat! He hit a big milestone the day before his four-month birthday: rolling from tummy to back (finally)! His schedule is about the same as it was last month, other than a minor hiccup in the few days following his four-month shots. Poor guy took the shots like a champ, but ran a fever and had some bruising on his legs for about three days after. He is really discovering his voice this month and does this adorable screech that seems to take a lot of effort based on how red his face gets and how he seems to run out of breath toward the end of the sound! He’s getting really good at coordinating his hands together to grab anything he wants to, which is really unfortunately for my hair! Even when it’s in a ponytail he somehow manages to painfully yank strands out of the hair tie from the base of my neck – yowza! Speaking of hair, I had NO clue that postpartum hair loss would be THIS bad! I am literally pulling out handfuls when I shampoo – how much is too much ladies? I’m surprised I don’t have bald patches!

And this month’s baby product shout outs go to…

  • The Wubbanub! After seeing several hip moms around the city sporting these little stuffed animals attached to soothies I decided we needed to give it a try! Finding two dinosaur ones at sealed the deal! Malcolm loves to snuggle up with the little toys while he’s sucking away and I love that it virtually eliminates the vanishing pacifier dilemma!
  • I’ve had several people inquire about the glider and ottoman we chose for Malcolm’s room (search “dinosaur nursery” on Pinterest and you’ll see that his room is famous – so cool!). It is the Luca Glider and Ottoman in Heather Grey from the Land of Nod. I love not only the chic look, but the arm rests are perfectly positioned for nursing and spit up cleans off of the fabric really well (something I never would’ve thought of before having a baby).
  • I did some serious research and debating before selecting a diaper bag. I loved the look of the Petunia Pickle Bottom bags, but thought they may be too feminine for Jordan to feel comfortable carrying. Also, the attached changing pad on the PPB bags seemed less functional to me than one I could remove to use easily on any surface. After googling “Best Diaper Bag 2013” and seeing the Skip Hop Studio Diaper Bag on literally every list I looked at (usually in the number one position) I decided that was the bag for me, and I’m thrilled with the choice. The Skip Hop Studio was one of the only bags with two insulated exterior pockets and a large exterior antimicrobial pocket. It’s a great size, not GIANT, but large enough to fit everything we need including his K’Tan wrap, which I carry everywhere (and love).
  • When we were looking at monitors, I was really hoping we could get something that would integrate with our iPhones; however, after reading product reviews on the options out there, I came to the conclusion that the technology is just not where it needs to be yet. Too many reviews identified instances where the camera lost signal in the middle of the night or horrific stories about cameras being hacked by online predators. Based on this research, we decided to go with the Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor with 3.5” Color Screen and Two Wireless Cameras with Pan, Tilt & Zoom. We originally planned on purchasing the model with a single camera, but Babies R Us was running a special on the two camera model, which turned into a happy coincidence. I LOVE having two cameras so that one can be permanently stationed for crib viewing and the second can be easily relocated as needed. The video function turns off after a certain amount of time to conserve battery when it’s not plugged in, which doesn’t bother us (you still get audio and can hit a button to resume video at any time). The video is so clear that you can see his chest moving up and down, and, similarly, I can hear him breathing over the audio so long as our air conditioner doesn’t kick on.
  • I have to admit, I have some serious mom/citizen of planet Earth guilt over using disposable diapers. I am the first to applaud moms who utilize cloth alternatives, but I just wasn’t ready to make that commitment. Some of the cloth diapering brands that were recommended to me came at such a high startup cost (granted I know I’ll spend more in the long run on disposables), that I knew if we went that route we couldn’t afford to change our minds. Now that Malcolm is here, he keeps me so occupied with laundering clothes covered in spit up, I think my washer might protest if we threw nappies into the mix! All of that said, since Malcolm has been born we have used Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive diapers exclusively and I have been very pleased with them. Knock on wood, we have not had a single instance of diaper rash in four months and VERY few leaks.

No comments:

Post a Comment