He’s Smiling!

I know I’m biased. Really, I do.

But my kid has the cutest smile, ever.

He officially started smiling a few days before he was 5 weeks old, but I finally caught it on camera.

Watch for around 1:07, where G hits himself in the face, and gets upset by it.

Updates:

On Church/Gregory: Once again, church was the best cure for crying that I have yet to encounter. Sunday morning, G ate at 8am and made it until noon without eating or crying! He loves church πŸ™‚ He also had one of his great nights– two 4 hour stretches of sleep! I almost feel normal! Perhaps this boy was meant to be a monastic and just can’t wait to stay in church all day!

On the Fuzzibunz Deal post: I sold a few of the inserts that came with the package, along with 3 more girly colored diapers. I have now made $17 by buying the whole package off Craigslist, keeping 10 of the diapers for myself! So glad I jumped on that, seeing as all 15 originally cost $30 and I sold 5 of them for $47!

On Holidays: We spent Thanksgiving with Jenny’s family in Rockwall. They knew that we weren’t able to make it down to Austin for Christmas with Jesse’s aunt and uncle and extended the generous invitation. We have some super cute videos of G being held my various members of their family, so I will try and post one or two soon, especially since he has such a cute Thanksgiving outfit on!

Parenthood

I’d just like to give a shout-out to the show. At a time when Glee has essentially become sexual-freedom-propaganda (seriously, Rocky Horror Show?? How many teenagers googled that because of Glee? I have 8 year old piano students who love that show!), Season 2 of Parenthood has been delightful.

If I could use food as a metaphor, Parenthood would be the equivalent of a warm mug of cocoa. I just feel better about life, family and the sometimes unpleasant duties associated with both as a result of watching, and it’s not because the trials the characters go through are so dire that ours are easy in comparison. There aren’t huge crisis plot points, just day to day struggles that real people face. Aspergers, boss/coworkers frustration, miscommunication, working while being a parent…I can’t say I’ve experienced them all, but the slower pace to the show has a familial quality to it. By the end of every episode, I feel more and more a part of the “Braverman Family”, because that’s what the show is designed to do. Not to act as a break from reality, but to integrate you in to theirs and have you carry some of it with you.

That’s all I can put my finger on, but the point is, I really look forward to Parenthood, almost as much as Modern Family (which is ridiculously brilliant– do yourself a favor and watch it on Hulu! You will laugh till you cry or pee your pants, whichever comes first).

Resentment

I’ve blogged a lot these past two days. Forgive me, I guess it helps me feel connected to the outside world when I spend all day at home with a 5.5 week old. Sure, there are papers to write, but I turned one in yesterday so I’m giving myself a bit of a break.

As I already wrote, Gregory and I made it to church for the first time this past weekend. As is customary when one is “churched”, one also goes to confession.

I’ve written so many times about what a healing balm confession is to my soul. I don’t know how I ever did without it. I start out so confused and aggravated by things I can’t even put a finger on, and I leave with peace, resolve and clear direction. Sometimes I wonder how much the church would make if they started charging money for confessions (an odd twist on the Catholic Church’s selling of indulgences in the 16th century, no?). Confession is the best therapy out there, hands down.

Anyways, I knew I had to go to confession, but I didn’t really have a “list” or any particular issues to hash out. Sometimes these are the best types of confessions, because the Spirit can lead to the heart of the matter without my own agenda interfering.

I started out, rambling about different things that have happened over the past 5 weeks. Jesse’s and my relationship, how it’s changed, how we’ve adapted or failed to adapt to Gregory…

All of a sudden, a common theme emerged, without my help. All of my problems and angst, little at the best times, catastrophic at the worst, boil down to resentment. It has been the driving force behind so many of my actions these past few weeks, it’s shameful.

Even more important, we (Fr. Joe and I) figured out that because I’m trying so hard to keep from feeling any resentment towards Gregory– a virtue– I’m bottling it and letting Jesse have it all the moment he does anything less than perfect.

It’s good, in one sense, that I have been able to channel the resentment. I can easily see how a mom could get aggravated enough to do the crazy kinds of things we see on the news. Seriously, a crying baby DOES THINGS TO YOUR SANITY. But I’ve always wanted Gregory to know on a very deep level that he isn’t a burden but a joy. I even want to resist the temptation to vent about his high maintenance personality because I don’t want to establish habits within my own thinking that could come out later. A passing comment here, a glance there…babies pick up that stuff. I want him to rest assured that although he is not the most well behaved baby in the world, I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s him, that’s his personality. All or nothing. To resent him for acting like Gregory would be to resent his existence.

But it’s also not good that Jesse’s bearing the brunt of my resentment. Sure, he’s stronger than a newborn, but it’s not his fault that I wasn’t able to take a shower for 3 days (true story, personal hygiene is a commodity these days). It isn’t his fault that Gregory starts to cry the moment I’m on the phone with the insurance lady or the moment I get really hungry.

Fr. Joe had some very good advice for these next couple weeks. First, he said to stop analyzing everything and just let things roll off. While we could think we are doing ourself favors by poring over the details of an argument or hashing out our feelings about frustrating elements of parenthood, it’s only going to be a weapon used against us at this point. Two sleep deprived individuals, attempting to assess the pond that’s still tossing from the huge boulder thrown into the middle. Useless. Wait until things settle, he said, then figure it out.

Secondly, he told me to do what may seem like an obvious thing and take all of my resentment to God. It’s a cliche statement, taking one’s issues to God, but Fr. Joe tried to put words to explain it. Don’t feel guilt over the resentment, just pray. Be honest. Let God know exactly how it feels to be deprived of my shower and food, not to mention my old life.

“Let Him have it,” Fr. Joe said with a smile. “God’s strong enough to take it. Jesse isn’t.”

It got me thinking about how often we fail to acknowledge building anxiety and frustration that may be justified. Because we fail to recognize it for what it is, we don’t release it in the proper manner. Instead, we take it out on those around us, pointing out their faults as a way of distracting from our own pain.

Any thoughts?

Cutest

I have to share this picture, because I think that Gregory is just the cutest baby ever born. He makes me want to wake him up, just so I can hold and snuggle him!

Wow!!!

Do you love going out to eat? Would you eat out two-three times/week if you could afford it?

Well, now you can, thanks to a deal I just found!!

Restaurant.com offers gift certificates for local restaurants at discounted prices. Sorry, Chili’s lovers, no chain restaurants, only locally owned small ones.

Their normal deal is something like a $10 certificate for $5, a 50% savings.

Want an additional 80% savings on top of that?

Yup, you heard me!

Just enter “GOBBLE” in the promo code box at checkout, and there you have it!

Using the money I made off of Ebay this week, I just scored $60 to two Thai Restaurants and $30 to an Indian Restaurant for 9 BUCKS. That’s it. Jesse and I can eat out 3 TIMES for less than what it would have cost us to drive through McDonalds. Plus, we love finding local-hole-in-the-wall places to eat.

Check it out! Make sure to read the terms and conditions of each particular restaurant, because I found that some of the pricier ones (I wanted to buy some Churrascaria certificates, alas) only allow you to use one certificate per visit. Still a good deal, but I was looking for DIRT CHEAP, seeing as that’s how we roll nowadays. Babies are expensive!

Go ahead, buy some certificates, go out to eat! You can thank me later πŸ™‚

Diaper Steal!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of my “Steals” on here, so I thought I’d indulge.

In my cloth diapers post, I mentioned that I’d acquired two Fuzzibunz Perfect Size (not the one-size) diapers for nighttime use. They are quicker to put on, which means that at 4am I’m in a much better mood.

Granted, they usually cost 3x what we use during the day (the Bummis prefolds), but for just a few, I figured it was worth the shot. I like the Perfect Size vs. the One-size because they fit so perfectly and I’ve been able to use them from day one (I’ve been told you have to wait to use the One-Size since they don’t fit newborns well).

The Steal? I saw a lady on Craigslist, selling 12 Perfect Size Smalls, 3 Perfect Size Mediums. The Smalls were used for one baby (meaning 4-5 months), and the Mediums were only used a handful of times.

These diapers retail for $13-15/diaper.

I got all 15 for $20.Β The package deal also came with about 30 inserts.

Yup. She said she couldn’t stand people who tried to sell their used diapers for close to what they paid for them.

I did pay an extra $10 for her to ship them because I have a newborn and she lives in McKinney, which is 1 hr. from the Oklahoma border. Also, a few of them will need new elastic, but I found a how-to tutorial for that online and already have the thin elastic which I purchased at Walmart for 80 cents.

Since there were 4 diapers in girly colors, I listed them on Ebay. Today, all 4 diapers sold for a total of $24.

So, including what I paid to have them shipped, I got 11 Fuzzibunz diapers for $6. Yes, that comes out to 75 cents/diaper. I don’t even know what I’m going to do with all 30 inserts!

Quite a steal, no?

Churching

Folks, it was a miracle.

We brought Gregory to church on Saturday night, and it was a flat-out miracle. I know my baby– heck, I’ve spent all day/night, every day/night with him for the past 5 weeks, and I’ve never seen him behave like this.

We made it to Vespers at 5pm on Saturday night, and he was hungry, so I stayed out in the car and nursed him for about 20 minutes. That’s all, nothing special. Jesse and I wrapped him onto me in the Moby Wrap, fully expecting that I would need to nurse him again before the end of Vigil.

Not only did G make it through 2.5 hours of church with only two tiny whimpers (both occurred when the choir stopped singing), but he also let Jesse and I go to confession, still as quiet as a mouse. Of course, we were also hungry afterwards, so we went out to Chipotle with the Folsoms. I warned them that it had now been 3 hours since Gregory had last eaten, an ETERNITY for him, and that our first “nursing in public” episode would probably have to commence once at the restaurant.

We got him out of his carseat at Chipotle. He was very much awake, wide eyed and staring, but not crying. Jenny held him as we ordered our food and sat down. Still not crying. We put him in his infant carseat there in the booth with us. He just stared and stared, without a peep. Then, as we were eating, he fell asleep again. We continued to talk, long after we were finished eating. Still, nothing.

Long and short of it: Gregory went 5.5 hours without eating, crying, or having his diaper changed. He cried for about 2 minutes when we transferred him back into his carseat to go home, but that was it. When we got home, we realized that his to-go diaper had completely soaked through, and that he was sitting in quite a mess.

Again, one of these factors would have been enough to make him scream as though limbs were being ripped off. This kid does NOT do hunger pains gracefully. But he was better behaved than I’ve ever seen him.

And then, he proceeded to have a great night, with a few 3-4 hours chunks of sleep.

And then, at church Sunday morning, he went another 3 hours without a peep. No feeding, no diaper changes, he was just…angelic! Everyone commented on how he was the perfect baby, and sooo beautiful. A few even said he was one of the best looking babies they’d ever seen πŸ™‚ Compliments to one’s baby are definitely waaay better than compliments directed at one’s own self.

At first, I was pretty convinced that Jesse should investigate the incense. It sure smelled like weed to me.

But I think there’s a better explanation, one that was offered by our friend, Brad. He pointed out that the babies of regular church attendees tend to do well when they come back to church, simply because it’s the music they heard consistently the entire time they were in-utero. Once they hear it again, they feel at peace and relate it with being back in the womb, safe and sound. I can say for sure that Gregory got a lot of church music whilst I was “growing him”, especially since I was in the choir. I also think he will react well to classical music, seeing as he was with me as I taught piano lessons every day for nine months.

All I know is that we are going to try and make it to church as often as possible with this kid. It’s like a free handout of Peace. We could always use more of that around here πŸ™‚

How he looked the entire 2.5 hours. Also, you can see 4 of our favorite people in the background-- Matushka Kathy, Jason, Karen and her fiance

Back by the church door, reading the churching prayers

 

How well-behaved he was at Chipotle!

 

10 Organic Foods That Are Worth The $

My godmother posted this article on Facebook. Take a look!

  1. Apples

    The FDA states that more pesticides are found on apples than are found on any other fruit or vegetable — a grand total of 36. One test found seven chemicals on a single apple. Sounds like a good reason to switch to pesticide-free organic produce to me.

    Of course, if you do eat apples or any other fruit, use them sparingly and never consume them in the form of fruit juice, which is basically just a glass full of fructose.

  2. Baby Foods

    An infant’s immune system is less developed than an adult’s, and more vulnerable. Nonorganic baby foods tend to use fruits and vegetables that have been treated with chemicals.

  3. butter and milkButter and Milk

    Dairy cows eat grains that are heavily treated with chemicals, which show up in the milk. Non-organic milk can also contain bovine growth hormone and antibiotics.

    However, RAW milk is nearly always better than organic milk if it is purchased from a conscious farmer. In that case, it may not be certified organic, but it will essentially be organic anyway, and drinking your milk raw is KEY. The linked article should have written loads about this difference, but failed entirely to do so.

  4. Cantaloupe

    Cantaloupes often are contaminated by five of the longest-lasting chemicals. Dieldrin, a very toxic and carcinogenic insecticide, still gets taken up through the cantaloupe’s roots even though it was banned in 1974.

  5. cucumberCucumbers

    Cucumbers were ranked the 12th most contaminated food and the second in cancer risk due to their pesticide content.

  6. Grapes

    Grapes get treated with numerous chemicals, especially Chilean grapes, which can be sprayed with as many as 17 of them. Grapes are also, whether organic or not, especially high in fructose — you might want to consider eating the grape skins and leaving the grape itself alone.

  7. Green BeansThere are over 60 pesticides that are registered for use on green beans in the U.S.
  8. SpinachstrawberriesThe chemicals used to treat spinach may cause cancer or interfere with hormone production.
  9. StrawberriesStrawberries are among the most contaminated of all produce. Once again, be wary of overdoing it with fructose when you eat fruit.
  10. Winter Squash

    Winter squash, like cantaloupe, can absorb dieldrin from the soil.

 

Yum!

Tonight, I made pumpkin scones with 2 different spiced sugar glazes drizzled in layers on top. So proud of myself! Now to go clean the kitchen…