Holy chopsticks-Easton goes out to eat!

Easton enjoying chopsticks at Wild Chef
These days going out to dinner is a luxury.  Adam and I are normally avid "out-to-eaters" but for the last 8 months I can tell you we've put the brakes on this tradition.   Mostly because we're terrified of what may happen with a busy baby boy in our booth.   We have managed 2 restaurant outings with Easton which he slept the whole time.  Other than being on pins and needles we made it through without a peep from our little peanut.   Now that our parenting confidence is up and with a tuckered tot in tow we decided that we should try for a Friday night dinner when my in-laws were in town.

The big idea struck when the coupon-saver envelope arrived in the mail.  I saw a 2-for-1 for a Japanese Steakhouse, "Wild Chef", and I thought that it would be a fun dinner for all.  I figured if Easton did wake up he would likely be mesmerized by the chef cooking in front of him.   So I picked him up from daycare on Friday afternoon, pleased to see he was due for an afternoon nap (fingers crossed for a sleeping baby during dinner), and stopped at home to gather the group.  

I packed the diaper bag, making sure I was covered for any situation.  Puffs for snacking, a bottle, diapers, change of clothes, toys and the list goes on.  We load up the car and hit the road.  Now, in true grandparent form, Easton's grandma and grandpa sat in the backseat with him and were enjoying gushing over him and playing with him while Adam and I sat upfront crossing our fingers that he'd fall asleep.

Little stinker fighting sleep

When we got about 1 mile from the restaurant Easton started crying- hard.  I told Adam to keep driving, told everyone to stop talking to him and we'd drive until he fell asleep.   That didn't exactly work out.  After several drives around the Sam's Club parking lot and the backwoods of Alpine Ave. we looked at each other and said, "What do we do?!"   Now officially starving I decide we should go to dinner and hope for the best.

As I step out of the car I reach in the back for the diaper bag hoping the "puffs" or the "bottle" will save the day.  That's when I realize I forgot the diaper bag!  AHHHHHH!  I can see it sitting on the kitchen chair and I just cringe.  My mommy bag of tricks is beyond out of reach and I'm filled with hunger and dread.   We get seated- order drinks and have the same conversation several times.

  "Should we leave?"

"What do you think?"

"I don't know.  What do you think?"

"Maybe we should just pick up a pizza and go home".

"This isn't gonna work.... what do you think?"
Wild Chef capturing Easton's attention

I finally make the executive decision we're staying.  We got Easton a high chair and pulled him up to the table which he seemed to like a lot.   I gave him a pair of chopsticks (yes a def. eye poking out danger but hell what am I supposed to do?!) and the paper from the chopsticks and he went to town playing.  I couldn't believe it.  I had to pick them up off the floor every 2 seconds but I didn't care.  He loved watching our chef do tricks on the grill and he didn't say a peep.  I was completely shocked when we got back in the car and realized it's a half hour past his bedtime and even without a bottle he acted like an angel.  

Lesson learned: Give your baby some credit and don't forget the damn diaper bag!


Shop till you drop- West Michigan Mom's Sale May 19!!!

Saturday May 19th 9-3pm DeVos Place
I'm so pumped for my first mom to mom sale coming up on Saturday May 19th.  One of my best friends is a die hard mom-to-mom sale shopper and when I was pregnant she was always picking me up great maternity dresses, shirts, shorts ect.  I'd say, "how much do I owe you?" and she'd say, "don't worry about it, it was so cheap".

Now that Easton is growing like a weed I can't keep up with his sizing and neither can my wallet (or grandma's for that matter).  So my mom, future sister-in-law and I are packing up the stroller and the diaper bag and heading out to the Mid-West's largest Mom Sale at DeVos Place on Sat. May 19th from 9-3pm.  If you've never done a sale like this, it's a giant "garage type sale" where mom's can buy a table and sell their gently used baby clothes/toys/gear and maternity wear, and then mom's like me can pick it up for sweet prices that are actually affordable.

I've seen some pictures from this particular sale and it looks fun but hard core.   You've got to be prepared!  Don't forget the reusable shopping bags to tote home your finds and if you get a chance scout out the website early so you know which tables you want to get to first.   If these other moms are anything like me- we'll be like a heard of elephants rushing straight for the baby gap and bouncy seat booths LOL.

I'll be sure to take lots of pics to show you how my first shopping experience goes!  Also if you're looking to make some serious cash- they've got booth space still available.   $35 for a 10x10 foot booth and the seller gets to keep 100% of what they make.  Whoot-whoot!

As part of WOTV 4 Women, we'll also have a booth across the hall at the free GR8 Parenting Event.  This is super cool, you can watch a demo on making baby food, couponing, ect. or just check out the local businesses that offer family fun activities around town and so much more.  I've written a few stories recently on this event, I'd love for you to check them out:




Our first trip to the ER

Easton brushing his teeth after being sick
We knew the day would come sooner or later and it was so much scarier than I could have imagined.  Easton is of course "teething" but starting coming down with a cold.   I took him to the Dr. (just to be safe) and they said he had a low grade fever (99.0) but it's "probably teething".  My mom instinct said otherwise but I tried to remain calm and collected instead of thinking I'm a Dr.

We got home and Easton took a good long nap.  When it was time to get him up, he lay moaning in his crib, rocking his head back and forth.  I knew immediately something was wrong and he was burning up.  Now I started to feel panicked.  Adam was at baseball practice with his team and our daycare provider forgot to send Easton's Tylenol home.   I called Adam over and over until he picked up and told him to get to the store and get medicine.

I tried to keep a cool wash cloth on Easton's head and fed him a bottle until Adam got home.  We then immediately tried to give him a dose of medicine and that's when he gagged on it and threw up all over me. That's when I lost it and started bawling. I was so scared for him and now we had no clue how much medicine he actually got in his system. Poor Adam. A sick baby and a sobbing wife.  

We eventually get Easton's fever down and get him feeling a little better.   We got him to bed and agreed at 10pm we'd wake him up to try and give him another dose.   About 9:30pm I decided to check him and that's when I found him moaning and burning up.  He wouldn't open his eyes and I watched in horror as the digital thermometer kept ticking higher and higher finally stopping at 104.5!   I screamed to Adam we're going to the ER RIGHT NOW!  We attempted to give him the medicine again and then he gagged and threw up all down the front of Adam's shirt. Ugh..... We threw on a pair of jeans, flips, grabbed the diaper bag and packed up Easton, pj's and all, into the baby carrier and flew out of the house.

I rode in the backseat with him the whole way, and he just moaned with his eyes closed.  We pulled in to the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital ER entrance and rushed him in.  Once in triage they were able to get Easton to swallow the medicine so I knew things were looking up. Turns out he had a chest infection.  They also told us that babies can get fevers up to 105 or 106 degrees without being "Serious".  I was shocked.
Easton is his little hospital gown with his red cheeks :-( Poor baby.

Poor Easton was so exhausted from crying for 4 straight hours he slept the whole night through.  I spent the next day tracking his medicine rotation, his wet diapers, his fluid intake, his temperature.  I was exhausted!  The next day I woke up excepting a healthy baby, but we were back to moaning and a 102.5 fever!  Panic stricken and frustrated I paced the floors for 2 hours until the Dr.'s office opened.  They get us in right away to basically tell me, "You're doing the right thing- this is a nasty virus and it may take a few more days!".  A few more days?!  Luckily they sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics which I swear started working right away! 

Easton sleeping in our bed waiting to go to the Dr.

Easton struggled with his fever for 5 long days!  Honestly it was so emotional and frustrating to see your little precious baby, sick and you can't do anything.  I know that this is the first of many fevers, sickness, and trips to the Dr.  but I can say that I've never more scared in my entire life.   It's so great to see Easton back to his happy healthy self this week.  I on the other hand now have his cold! Go figure ;-)


Where's the mommy handbook?!

Easton sporting his new Summer hat!

I've got to admit, being a mom is all about learning as you go. Let me tell you, time is moving so quickly! Easton is almost 7 months old and is growing and changing so fast.  Every day he does something different and Adam and I are constantly yelling, "Quick!  Come here and see what Easton is doing!"   He is just soaking everything up around him like a little sponge.  One of my worries about this new "sponge stage" is that if Adam doesn't watch his potty mouth Easton's first word may need to be bleeped ;-)

I wish there was a mom handbook I could consult instead a doing a million internet searches every day or using the dreaded trial and error process. (hmmm... write a book?  Def. don't have enough time for that!) I  have had some serious clueless mom moments lately while trying to keep up with this little dude.  I think this one takes the cake.

I have waited for weeks for Easton to get his teeth.   I've wiped up countless puddles of drool,have been drooled on and (prepare yourself..) have had Easton's drool fall directly into my mouth!  ewww.   Let me clarify- I'm not Alecia Silverstone, but I often will lay on the couch and hold Easton up over my head to play with him.  As I'm making cute baby voices and faces- BAM!  He hits me with the drool bomb.  Anyway, on to the clueless mom moment.

Cool dude drooling in his shades
So I wait and wait and wait for these teeth.  I can be a bit impatient.  Every day I feel the two little bumps on his bottom gums get bigger.  Soon I can feel a little sharp corner poke through, but still no actual teeth.  I give him baby Tylenol and frozen teethers ect. ect.  Finally my mom and aunts came to visit and my mom exclaims, "he got his teeth!"

I of course barrel by her like, "Whhat!?  Let me see!"  I feel his mouth and sigh, "nope not yet.  Its just the tops still.  It's been like that for a week."

The girls look at me and laugh- "Carly you'd better get out the baby book because that is considered getting his teeth."

Irritated and shocked I reply, "what do you mean?  I don't see two 'tall teeth'?"

They then let me know that once the teeth break the skin that's it.   It takes actual time for the teeth to grow upwards into 'tall teeth'.  I was, well shocked and replied,

"Well shoot.  He's had those for a whole week then!"

I have teeth but I'm not gonna show you for the picture!


Operation Baby Food: I'm up for the challenge!

I love spending time in the kitchen cooking up all sorts of new recipes.  Now that Easton can eat solids he gets to partake in eating mommy's culinary creations!   This is extremely dorky but it's so important to me that Easton grows up with a good palate, because I refuse to have a picky eater on my hands.   I'm trying to expose him to fresh healthy foods.   Am I going to let him eat Cheetos and cupcakes when he's old enough?  Of course!  BUT I feel like starting him on fresh food instead of processed will help him appreciate good fruits and veggies.

I thought for weeks about what his first food would be.  Savory or sweet?!  I toyed around with doing sweet potatoes but I heard about kids turning orange from eating too many orange foods (not going there just yet).  Then I thought I know, Avocado!  But my own mom looked at me like I was crazy and what baby would want their first food to be an avocado?  I finally settled on Butternut Squash which was also my husband's "first food" as a baby.

I was so excited I bought these fancy little baby Tupperware containers in bright colors to store the food, and got everything prepped. (I paid way to much for these but when you're an excited new mom buying baby's first food containers- you just toss it in the cart and throw budgeting to the wind).   I lugged out the food processor from it's dusty hideaway above the cookbooks and got to work.

Step 1: Peel and chop.   I opted for the busy mom "food prep" and bought a bag of pre-peeled and cubed squash.  So this step was more like, "Cut open the bag". ;-)

Step 2: Steam.  Again- I took the easier route and used a ziplock microwavable steam bag.

Step 3: Puree.   I put the steamed squash in the processor added a little water and presto!  Baby food.

pureed pears
Step 4: Taste.  Here is where I found out that I didn't steam long enough.  Whoopsie!   Totally gritty mess.

To say the least I had to scoop all of my gritty baby puree back into the steamer bag- resteam and repuree.  (Ok- I actually had to do this about 3 times because I obviously do not understand how long it takes to steam a butternut squash.)

Step 5: Cool and feed to baby.  Easton looked at me like I put a spoonful of doggie doo in his mouth.  I had to laugh.  He eventually came around!   Though the squash wasn't a huge hit he is loving, sweet potatoes (and has not turned orange), apples, pears and bananas.  Next up peas, then peaches.

peas and peaches
apples and sweet potatoes
I learned a great tip (Thank You Sarah Lake!) to ditch the expensive little containers and freeze the food into ice cubes trays.  It's the  perfect portion and you just store them in a ziplock.

sure I would love to eat dinner in my Elmo bathrobe!

 Easton Update: 6 month checkup: 19.5 LBS (must be loving the baby food) and 29.5 inches long.


Ok- you can stop growing up now

Easton will be 6 months old in just a few days.  How did this happen?!  I mean come on did time fly or what?!  He's just doing so much cool stuff these days.  I can see the wheels really beginning to turn all of the time.

He is really improving his coordination.  He looks at something, grabs it and puts it right in his mouth.  Maybe it doesn't sound like much but watching him learn all of the steps and put it together is so cool.  He puts everything in his mouth and loves to grab my hair and either, pull it or put it in his mouth... sigh.  At least he hasn't found my earring.

He LOVES to jump.   His grandma and grandpa bought him a Johny Jumper for their house, so of course we stole it for our house.   He will just jump and jump and jump.  He is also rolling over like a crazy man.  If you put him on the floor he'd roll straight across the room if you'd let him.

He's got the energy for it all because he's now eating some solids.  I am making his baby food (which I find super fun) and he's tried:

-Butternut squash- (Easton gives it 4 of 5 stars)
-Pears (Easton gives it 2 of 5 stars)
-Sweet Potatoes (Easton gives it 4 of 5 stars)
-Bananas (Easton gives it 5 of 5 stars)

 Tonight I found myself at dinner chatting to Easton, asking him about his day and dreaming up all of the fun scenarios that may have happened at daycare.

Easton did you go outside today and take a stroll around the neighborhood?
Easton did you eat pears or sweet potatoes for lunch today?
Ut-oh Easton those aren't the clothes I sent you in this morning.  I bet I can guess what would require an outfit change ;-)

 I finally looked at Adam and said, "Won't it be fun when he talks back ;-)"   Now I'm wondering what does a Easton think about?   Here's my best guesses:

1.  Boy these two are funny- I think they're my mom and dad.
2.  Where did that short dog with the funny smashed face go?
3.  Hello!  Hello!  God, they must have awful hearing, it's 2am -Mom I want you to wake up from your warm bed and come get me- hustle up!
4. Food
5. My teeth hurt :-(
6. More food
7. Yah! It's my grandma & grandpa.  I love all of them!
8. If I could j--u--s----t pick this up and get it into my mouth.  Victory!
9.  Oh that's a good lion's paw (sucking on his little stuffed lion toy)
10. I wish someone would play Justin Beiber again. (see video below of the cutest baby dancing to "Baby-Baby" by the Beibs ;-).


Toy Takeover! What happened to my living room?

Now that Easton is 5 months old he loves to play!  He is learning to use his hands and his coordination is quite entertaining to watch.   He often looks at his own hands as he opens and closes them, scratches at things and tries to shove his entire fist into his mouth- Delicious!

For Christmas he got loaded up with new toys.  I thought, "how cute" and bought and assembled a special shelf for his room to display the toys on (true Carly fashion right there!).  What I didn't take into account is that lugging the toys from the "cute shelf" out to the living room every five minutes is super annoying.  Thus the toy takeover has begun!

I remember 5 months ago when my living room was spotless (if my own mom is reading this she probably is picking her jaw off the ground, shaking her head and thinking ya right, it's only spotless if she cleans it, but hey I have a "selective" memory lol).   Now every nook and cranny is packed with toys.   It started off innocently enough.  I would bring out A (singular) toy for Easton to play with.  Then I would put it back.  Then it grew into a small toy area on the fireplace next to the box of doggie toys.  Shockingly Otis knows the difference between his toys and the baby toys.

Next, I was able to get rid of the swing but swapped it for a bouncy seat.  Then Easton grew into his walker toy, so that gets parked next to the bouncy seat, across from the fireplace toybox.   Then we moved his pack and play into the living room which is squeezed next to the tv, next to the bouncy seat.   Did I mention he also has a little baby playmat jungle gym too?!  Ahhhh! 

In addition to all of his "gear"- we often store the baby carrier on the dining room table next to the high chair which is home to several bibs and toys to occupy his during dinner.  My favorite is when I'm laying on the couch and am like, "ooh what's stabbing me from under the cushions?!"  Oh of course a set of baby keys! LOL

Every night I have to do an entire sweep of the house to help with the toy takeover.   Clear the coffee table of bottles, pacifiers, a bib or two, check the cushions, push the walker and bouncer back to it's corner parking lot and shove the basket of clean baby laundry to it's hiding spot next to the couch.  AND of course put all of the doggie toys away.  They love the "Baby Stuff" (see pic below!)

 Funny thing is- though I miss my "aspiring pottery barn" style living room I can't imagine it any other way than littered with Easton stuff.  I mean look at him?!  Hugging his little moose toy- god he is so cute!  I'm sure in 20 years when I get my living room back, I'll be wishing it was still covered in his baby things :-)