Friday, July 27, 2012

Diaper Junction Give-Away

Love me some cloth diapers - and what I love about Diaper Junction is the option of "testing out" different brands to find out what you love!  Here's another opportunity to fall in love with my favorite brand - Diaper Junction's Gro Via One-Size sampler pack!

Feed Your Stash Friday - Enter a give away, test out some diapers, and if you don't love them - Give them to me?? ;-) hahah <3

Keep it fluffy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Big Day in the Haws Household

Silver Beach with Auntie Margaret
Well, it's been a big day in the Haws household today ..!

The day began with Ryan receiving his first post doc job offer - Yay, Ryan!!  Over the next 2 weeks he has 1-2 interviews scheduled and the opportunity to consider whether or not he will accept his first offer following those interviews ... AND ... he submitted his dissertation to his committee members for review prior to his defense!
DJ Tommy Tooth Brush...!!

 I am so so proud of him for his months and years of hard work - It is so bittersweet to think of our time here in South Bend coming to an end!  We have had a nice farewell tour visit from Margaret this summer - visiting the St Joseph Silver Beach, Fernwood, and local attractions like Fiddler's Hearth, the Farmers' Market, and the busiest place to grab breakfast on a Saturday morning - Annie's ..!  It was so great to have Marge in town the week she came, as it wound up being Ryan's busiest week - To have someone help out with Thomas and get us out of the house was terrific!

Our next farewell tour begins the first weekend in August, as we will have our annual Haws family visit from Rick, Kathy, Amanda & Clark - I've already told Kathy to start getting her list together of things they'd like to do while here ;-)  It'll be  a great time of year to visit, too - so much in season!

Toes in the Sand - Silver Beach, MI
Other highlights from today come from Thomas - the little mister decided to start walking!!! Not just taking steps (as he took his first steps to Dr. Rice on Friday July 6.... little turkey), but WALKING!  All of a sudden we were vegging in the living room and he started to crawl to the couch, stand up and lean his back against the cushion, and walk from the couch to the television stand and back, although my excited hand-clapping self distracted him enough to make him fall ... hahah

It is so so silly and amazing to watch him work on mastering his walking - those little baby bow legs, seeing him work on balancing himself, carrying random items in his mouth or hands, waving his arms overhead .... Here's a video treat for you all ... Pay no mind to the random '80s horror film on TV, lol .......  ;-)

The final big day moment for our family is from me!!  I eagerly sent off my Intent to Student Teach form as well as my Student Teacher Profile ..!  I am genuinely excited to take on the workload that is to follow - I have two courses to take this fall (Teaching social studies + teaching literacy) before I student teach next spring.  I cannot wait to obtain my K-6 license!  It is so exciting and groovy (for lack of a better word? hahah) to think of what is to come for our little family - By the time T is 2 I will have my teaching license and Ryan will be on his way toward establishing himself as a Phd in Chemistry ... Wow!

Another video treat - "Pillow fights" in our house have a brand new meaning ...

This week Thomas and I are taking a 2-day trip to Indianapolis to see our friends and explore a bit of Southern Indiana - Something we haven't done over the last 5 years!  It'll be the farthest south I've been while still remaining in the err ... midwest? ;-)

On Friday Ry has an interview and will be out all day - I hope to take Thomas to the pool if the weather holds out ... Alternately, I'm sure we can get some more "stuff" packed around the house.  It is a bit strange packing boxes knowing some will go to Minnesota ... and some will go with Ryan, where ever he may end up.  My parents have offered to drive down should we need the extra space when T and I make our final move up to Minnesota - some time in August.

I have so many sewing projects bubbling in my mind.  It wasn't until this weekend that I realized how much, exactly, I depleted my sewing stash when I participated in a garage sale last month.  I concocted not one, but 2 sewing projects in my head for a friend of mine (as we were invited to her wedding reception) only to discover that I was missing over a yard of fabric I thought I had (Did Marge take it with her? Did I yard sale it? Did I donate it to the Good Will?) ... I then moved on to another hand towel project, cut my fat quarters that I DID have ... only to discover that I had donated the actual hand towels to the Good Will ... hahah

Needless to say ... It is about time to pack up my sewing machine and fabric stash since I am at a bit of a stand-still until all of this excitement settles down.   <3

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Happened to June?

Mmm ice!
Woah, Long time no update!  Things here in Indiana have been wildly busy ... From chasing T around the house to being on Mom-duty while Ry works, meeting with friends, La Leche League, and Mom's Group ... heading up to the pool for an hour or so, or just goofing around in the garden ... June absolutely flew by!

Some Highlights -

Our little family had a 2-week vacation in Minnesota - and it was fabulous, albeit too short.  We spent so much time at my sister Margaret's new house - it is so perfectly baby proofed and centrally located to our favorite spots, whether it be down town for shopping and browsing, or up to Forest Lake for a quiet and peaceful reprieve in the woods.  (She even had baby proof locks on her cabinets, people! I don't even have those!! hahah)

Thomas turned 1!
Cake smash!
We threw a Birthday Party for Thomas at Margaret's house - It was a lot of fun and a lot of work, all wrapped into one.

I cannot believe my little tiny peanut-baby is one!  It's a bit unreal to reflect upon this time last year and see how different it is with a toddler who loves to go up and down the stairs, feed himself, speed-crawl all over the place, chase the dog, open and close doors, play tricks on Otto, brush his hair and teeth, throw balls (and toys...), stack blocks, put on necklaces, snuggle, hug and kiss, and get into all kinds of mischief .... compared to our life last summer with a very new little baby!  .. and yet so many things are the same: changing diapers, affectionately caring for a little life, laughing at new milestones and antics with Ryan, laundry laundry laundry .. hahah these lists could just go on and on.

Here are some birthday photos -
Dad + Tom
Mom + Papa + Tom
Birthday Wall - Photos from Birth to 1

Peter Rabbit Theme - Carrot Cake, anyone?
"I love balloons!"
Nomnomnom Cake!
"Hey mom, this is good stuff!"
Frosting + Cement = Slip!
Taking 1 for the Team / Tired Birthday boy!

The day went so so quickly ... I wish we had had more time to enjoy the company of our guests =)  The day was hot, spotted with rain and sun - needless to say our balloons and birthday banner didn't survive the weather!

T + Uncle Ry = Love!
 On our visit, T fell in love with his aunties, cousins, Uncle Ryan, grampas and grammas.  It was so sweet to see him be affectionate and friendly with our family.  We are eager for our next visit home, which may be a bit more permanent for Thomas and me. 
Who doesn't love Zelda?

Ryan received an award for excellence in teaching that is awarded to the top 10% of teaching assistants at Notre Dame - pretty cool, huh?  We attended the awards dinner a few months ago, and as one of the guest speakers was describing the rewards of being a teacher I was bitten by the teaching bug - I felt "called" to teach - not necessarily in that Jesus-peaked-at-me-thru-the-clouds sense ... but in the "Man-alive-this-is-what-I-love" meaning of the word.
Baby Love <3

In honor of said mission, I've applied and been admitted to the MaT program at Hamline ... and since I've got so many courses completed as an undergrad student, I only need to take 2 courses before I student teach ... and both are offered this fall!

Ryan and I decided to spend a year apart (or rather 2-12 week periods...) so I can get my K-6 license while he works as  Post Doc ... Not going to lie, I am a little bit scared ... but I know my family will support me when I need it ... and as Ryan said ... he'll always be a plane ride away ... or a car trip ... and we are no strangers to those.

In other news, we are taking summer one day at a time.  We've fallen in love with the pool - the wading pool and the Big Kid pool.  Thomas loves to watch the big kids splash, play and swim ... and they love to swim around us and pop out of the water to say "Hello" to Thomas!  It is hard to find a balance of outdoor time and cool indoor time while also mixing up our routine enough to evade boredom.  For both of us. Hahah  Thomas can successfully navigate the stairs, turning around to go down "feet first" at the top.  He enjoys standing at the open railing and talking, waving, sitting ... and has discovered how exciting it is to throw things from the top of the stairs <palm-to-face> ... phew he's a busy guy!
Thomas is sprouting 4 new teeth and growing 2 molars, so he can be a wreck from time to time ... but it's nothing we can't handle with ice cubes, soft fruits and scratchy toast.  He's been sleeping thru the night, so we can't complain too much on that front. =)

Ryan is still awaiting an offer on a post doc position - he's got some nets cast wide, so it really is just a waiting game...  He's anticipating completion of his dissertation early this month and defending later this month ... it's sort of unbelievable to realize that our time in South Bend is coming to an end - it'll be bittersweet to pack up this apartment and leave South Bend behind.  There are things we've come to love and times we've been so pleased to leave behind and forget about ... 

Needless to say, we've been very busy and we are anticipating another very busy year ahead!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pool Time!

Today was one of those days where I felt highly ambitious .. and accomplished a lot .. only to look at the clock and realize that it was only 2:30 and the baby had only taken an hour nap all day long ..

Given the heat today, it only made sense to whip out our little Crab pool and test out one of the swim diapers I made last month!  (Here is my blog post about the diaper - 2nd time around, I was able to focus more on the stretch in the legs, back and front, making the diaper appear considerably smaller and more Thomas' size ... Score!)

Here are some photos from our afternoon "poolside" -

Cool Sprinkler!

Testing the Water

O.k. Not so bad, eh?
I added a few mixing bowls worth of warm water to the pool so it was pretty comfortable.  It's just the right size for our back yard, and T can crawl in and out of it pretty smoothly ... He had a great time splashing and playing with the spray-attachment-thing for the hose ... of all things ... The swim diaper worked out very well, and fit him pretty well, too!  I am pleased with how it came out.  Once I get my hands on some more FOE I will have to make another, perhaps a pull on/off since my machine resists going through the chunk of fabric that develops with the fold-over process of creating the snap-on section.  I dread the idea of hand sewing those sections, so they are raw at the moment .. but the snaps do a fine job of holding things together for the time being.

Tomorrow our "big" pool opens up at the apartment office.  They have a "Kiddie Pool" that is a mere 10-12" deep .. just our size!  We plan on being there around 10 a.m. to test the waters!

"O.k. I'm all done!"
Bear crawling saves the knees from the concrete ...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Splish Splash

We've had such gorgeous weather here in Indiana these last few weeks.  We've really been spoiled, being able to leave the windows open day and night, enjoying the sunshine (or shade) and play outside in the afternoons, go for walks, you name it ... This morning, Ryan even took little T for a walk around the neighborhood while I had a fabulous visit with a Mary Kay consultant, Tricia (... tell her I sent ya and I think I get a bonus - also, NO S&H! Cool!)!

I was so glad to be able to meet with Tricia after I met her at the Women's Expo last err .. March?! I felt miserable cancelling on her TWICE because of Thomas' bad bout with ear infections .. and then a THIRD time because my "friends" with the Mom's group cancelled on me .. but to my relief, she came to my home for a 1 on 1 appointment.  I was in such need of a make up refresher, after using the same eye shadow colors since HIGH SCHOOL ... way back when Heather Nelson (no, not related..) recommended a brand and color of eye shadow that I enjoyed! Hahah

Needless to say, I was in love with the make up products Tricia recommended for me, and I walked away with more products than I initially thought I would.  I am now the proud owner of new eye shadow colors (I wonder if Heather Nelson knows about this product ...), a lip gloss that makes me look as mature as my professional and always gorgeous big sister Gisela, and a foundation that meets my specifications ... Cool!  I'm excited to have an excuse to slap it all on my face this weekend for a family wedding we are attending ..!  I was in such a mom rut ... yoga pants + nursing tanks, anyone? ;-)


This afternoon was pretty relaxed, as well. Thomas took a nap or two, went shopping with me, and played in the back yard.  I just had to share some photos!  Given the heat, I was pretty bummed that I didn't put out our crabby kiddy pool (once I get it out I promise I'll take pictures and share .. you'll understand .. hahah).  So instead I brought out 2 of my nesting mixing bowls that we received as a gift from Gisela when we first moved into our apartment 5 years ago!  Thomas is such a water baby, he looooved splashing, dropping rocks into the bowls, fishing them out, putting them in his mouth .. oh wait .. Mom didn't love that part .. hahah

It's pretty cute, because these days he is all about sharing - he will pass you something he is snacking on, or just hold it out for you to "taste" before pulling away and zipping it back into his own mouth.

Dad even came outside to read on his new birthday present - an Asus tablet!  It's pretty cool for him to be able to read his research articles electronically .. not to mention all of the trees he'll be saving, not having to print off all those research articles.  Speaking of saving trees, he has an interview next week!  At Cal-Berkely!  Keep your fingers crossed!  If we were to move out that far, I promise, I won't chain myself to any trees ... ;-)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Baby Friendly" Hospitals

I've been thinking a lot about the initiative to push "baby friendly" onto hospitals .. what does the term mean for women who are already decided that nursing isn't for them ..? For example, the mom who has birthed her 4th child and hasn't nursed, nor wants to nurse, any of her children?

Then this article came out from the NY Times -

Maternity Ward Swag -

I feel like it sucks that hospitals these days have to rely on mega corporations such as Enfamil, Similac and Gerber for money, supplies, etc... for their maternity wards, I also have to be a little bit thankful for what the hospital had on hand and recommended for me when Thomas was a newborn.

He was born at a massive 9lbs 15oz after 30+ hours of labour ... via c-section ... after 5+ bags of fluids were pumped into my (swollen-for-weeks) little self ... In his first days outside of the womb, he dropped down to 9lbs.  He was a fussy little one, and late late late one night he wouldn't nurse, he wouldn't latch, I was desperate, but determined to keep on nursing (mostly because my fabulous husband wanted me to "give it a try" even though I was clueless and not to keen, but rather indecisive on the issue .. and 24-48 hours didn't seem like enough of a "try" ..).  The night nurse was a huge help to me that night .. as Thomas wouldn't stop crying, wouldn't stop fussing .. wouldn't nurse .. She helped me understand that it was O.k. to use a nipple shield .. and it was o.k. to supplement 10mL of formula at the start of a feed to help he latch and realize that the nip (and nipple shield) was an o.k. thing to hang out with for awhile!

I don't know much about what it means for a hospital to be "baby friendly" ... but I wonder if I would've been made to feel like it was o.k. to supplement those first few days with Thomas ... and if I would've been sent home w/a small stash of formula.  If it weren't for the small collection of Similac pre-made we came home with, Ryan would've had to run to the store to buy an over-priced can of formula - oh wait, we had already received 3-4 small cans in the mail that were awaiting either OUR use, or shipment to my sister, who was expecting ... so we were grateful to have the premade for our small use, and the convenience of using it at home in those tiny suringes .. squirting it into a nipple shield .. while also balancing a baby on my lap ..

Oh man, those were the days ... I was pretty determined!

To be honest, the "swag" from the maternity ward sucked for us ... and I donated it to the Good Will months later.  Someone else will find use for the tiny cooler and under-sized bottles, I'm sure.

Nursing doesn't work out for everyone ... and I think there is a lot more that goes into a woman's decision to breastfeed/nurse her baby than whether or not she gets a free enfamil/similac/gerber diaper bag ... but one thing hospitals should realize is ... women are bombarded with formula information long before the birth of their baby ... and a supportive staff is the best medicine, particularly when she needs help keeping her breastfeeding motor going ... ;-)  I think that is at the root of a Baby Friendly hospital, anyway ... not a "Formula is bad, mmkay?" kind of attitude ...

That being said - I would not be where I am today if it weren't for the twice-a-month Breast Feeding Support Group meetings we attended religiously from the time Thomas was 4-6 weeks old until he was well past 7 months ... at the St Joseph Regional Medical Center!  Not only did we receive the affirmations, support, and kindness we needed to continue on our journey - even when times were rough and he was rejecting the nipple shield and I thought for sure my nipples were going to fall right off - but we made a fabulous group of Mom Friends along the way =)

More Info on Baby Friendly -
Baby-Friendly USA
UNICEF - Baby Friendly Initiative
WHO - Baby Friendly Initiative

Regardless of your feeding choice, I think the Baby Friendly initiative has a great place in hospitals - including mandatory time with baby before he or she is removed from Mom after birth (Thomas disappeared for over 4 hours after his nearly midnight birth and 1-1 1/2 hours with us immediately after), skin-to-skin contact, lactation consultants, and a staff on hand that is supportive of breastfeeding choices in education and practice.  As my cousin said, if the hospital were to be giving away cloth diaper "swag" .. would I still be comfortable walking away empty handed? No way! hahah  ... but in my opinion, it comes more hand-in-hand with a desire to have something for free after leaving the hospital than "Ohh, hey, Similac gave me a sweet bag, maybe I should buy their formula ..."

I'd love to know your thoughts -

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Farmer Boy

Thomas was too cute not to take pictures of this afternoon ... I couldn't resist plunking him nearby the garden and watching him revel in it's beauty, glory, and sensory-rich textures, smells and sounds.  
Truly enjoying my nature-baby!

Barefoot ... just like his mama <3