Monday, August 26, 2013

21 Weeks

Arlo is 21 weeks old today, and that sleeping-through-the-night thing? Major fluke. Our nights have improved a little, though. He only had an up-six-times night once this past week, and last night, he only got up once. I just never know what to expect.

Anyway, I swear he's getting more fun by the minute. He's rolling over like it ain't no thang now, both from tummy to back and back to tummy. He knows that if a toy is out of reach, all he has to do is roll over to get closer to it. I don't think he necessarily has control over where he goes, but he's getting really good at scooching around. If I leave him alone on his activity mat for 3 minutes, there's no telling where he'll be when I get back. He scooches his little body right off that thing. He can also make it from one side of his crib to the other in no time. Okay, like 5 minutes. But still.

When did he get so big??

His feet still can't quite reach the floor when he's in his jumperoo, so I put a blanket under them—and he goes to town! He jumped around maniacally in that thing for over an hour straight the other day, hootin' and hollerin' up a storm. He looks like he's slimming down a bit, thanks to all this new exercise.

Felix is such a good sport.

He's so happy and smiley, and every single day, he does something that's so cute it almost gives me a stroke.

Like the way he adores his daddy. (You have good taste, kid.)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Citrus Lane Box #4

Our fourth Citrus Lane box arrived the other day, and it was a pleasant surprise, as usual. 


This month's box contains a couple of nods to the start of a new school year, despite the fact that it's still a few years off for Arlo. Its contents include Cleo's Alphabet Book from Barefoot Books, a Little Stacker from Rich Frog, a bottle strap from Ah Goo Baby, sanitizing wipes from CleanWell that are made for hands and faces, a few samples of diaper rash cream from Weleda, and a trial offer for another monthly subscription service, FabKids—which starts at size 2T and isn't relevant to us.  

Here's a better image of the bottle strap, since you can' tell what it is in the first photo.

As awesome as it was to get a box of goodies in the mail, this was probably the most underwhelming box for us so far. A couple of the items, like the bottle strap and the stacker, are too "old" for Arlo right now—but I imagine they'll come in handy a few months from now. Citrus Lane seems to send some kind of diaper rash ointment every month, so we definitely have enough of this—especially since my lucky boy never has a red bottom.

Books are always a good thing, though, so I was happy to receive that. My favorite item this month is definitely the container of sanitizing wipes. We use wipes like this daily—gotta keep Arlo's little hands clean since he and Scooter both enjoy eating them. This container is packaged more conveniently than our typical pack of Boogie Wipes, and I'll probably purchase more when this container is gone.

I love that Citrus Lane introduces me to items I may not have stumbled upon otherwise, like this month's wipes or last month's Aden + Anais burpy bib—which I couldn't help but buy more of.

Love 'em!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Privacy Reminder

Hey, dudes. This is just a reminder that I'm temporarily changing my security settings to private. I'll wait a few days so everybody has a chance to see this.

Did you get an invitation to read the private blog? If you requested one, you should have—because I certainly didn't deny anybody access. If you'd like an invite, please e-mail me at No need to share your story or anything if you don't want to. Just tell me how you know or "know" me.

So. I'd originally planned on responding to all of the e-mails I received from you guys, but that was when I assumed I'd only get about a dozen. The stories kept rolling in, and I really wish I had time to tell you all individually that your story touched me—that I'm sorry for your losses, or that you're a great person for researching ways to help your friend deal with her miscarriage, or that life is beautiful or terrible or confusing or so damn unfair. Thank you for reaching out. I look forward to sharing my story with you.

Oh, and a special thanks to all of you who mentioned how cute my kid is.

Oh, hi.
  He knows.

Monday, August 19, 2013

20 Weeks

Arlo is 20 weeks old today, and this past week was full of firsts for him.

First, he finally rolled his fat little butt over on Thursday. I'd imagined that when he finally did this, there would be lots of grunting involved—but that wasn't the case at all. As soon as I put him on the floor for tummy time, he lifted his left arm up, and bam! Before I even realized what was happening, he was on his back. I think he only did it so he could get to his feet, which have become his best friends.

Just seconds after rolling over for the first time.

Next, he slept through the night last night! Holy crap. He's been sleeping better for the last couple weeks—"only" getting up twice most nights—and I think it must be due to the higher dosage of his reflux medication. This is proof that he was most likely miserable every night—so I feel like crap for letting him suffer for so long—but I'm thrilled he's apparently feeling better. I can't wait to see if last night was a freak thing, or if our boy really has turned over a new leaf. This could be life changing.

Lastly, Arlo went on his first road trip. We made the 10-hour round-trip trek to Michigan on Saturday to visit his cousins.

Ready for his trip!
15 minutes in.
A few hours in.

He was such a good boy. He slept most of the way there and back, and while we were there, he was the sweetest little man. He got to swing for the very first time, which was adorable. The swing was barely moving, but judging by his reaction, he was soaring.  He kept widening his eyes and saying, "Oh!" I could hardly stand the cuteness. 

Hardly moving.
Tire swing with Mama.
Tire swing with Daddy. (At least Arlo's looking at the camera. There's no tellin' what Danny's up to.)

He didn't bat an eye as he was passed from person to person—and we were there for 5 1/2 hours, and he remained content the whole time. I'm so proud to be his mommy.    

The ride home.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Through the Woods

I love getting surprises in the mail. I especially love getting surprises in the mail that make me and Danny grab each other and cry happy tears.

Today, we were surprised with a sweet little deer print from our friend Melanie. He's from The Animal Print Shop, and he's just sweet as can be.

He'll have a proper home soon, but for now he's on a book ledge. (Is this picture blurry? Why can't I take a decent photo?)

The kicker, what really got the tears rollin' was this note:

Amanda, Danny & Arlo,

The spirit of the deer is gentle, compassionate, and strong. Their deep sense of family loyalty helps them move through obstacles with grace and determination.

I see these qualities in all of you.

Let this little deer join in on your family's journey through the woods... and always be a reminder of how important you are to one another.

With Love,

I love this so much. It's a reminder that wherever the three of us are going, whatever path we're on, we have each other—and Jesus, are we in love. On a related note, if we make a conscious effort to notice every butterfly and wildflower on our journey through the woods, the ugly times will be a whole lot easier to bear. And nothing in the world can fuse souls like overcoming an obstacle side by side. We know that.

Also, I'd like to clone Mel 7 billion times and give one to everybody—because the world would be a whole lot sunnier. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rag & Bone Bindery Baby's First Book

I searched my butt off for the perfect baby book for Arlo. Everything in the stores was too traditional, too flimsy, too blah—so I had to scour the Internet for one that made me giddy. Totally found it.

Baby's First Book by Rag & Bone Bindery is the most gorgeous baby book I've ever laid eyes on. They offer several different cover options, but one in particular really spoke to me. Since it's (Stop reading, Danny.) $80 (Resume reading, Danny.) for a personalized one, I was slightly hesitant to buy it without being able to touch it and flip through it first—but I couldn't find another one that I liked even half as much as this one, so I bit the bullet.

Since each book is hand bound upon order, it took about a month for this sucker to arrive, but it was definitely worth the wait.

I should have busted out the camera because my phone can't do this book justice.

As soon as I removed this book from its vellum overwrap, I was blown away by the quality. It just feels good to hold. The linen fabric, the shiny ribbon, the heavy paper stock. Just amazing. I'll never regret spending (Danny, stop reading.) $80 (Danny, resume reading.) on this thing because I'm confident it'll be around for generations.

Let's zoom in on that beauty, shall we?

More importantly, I really love the 23 pages of prompts—but I knew that before the book arrived because I contacted the company and asked them to provide me a table of contents. In a perfect world, this gorgeous book would be customizable. (For example, I really wanted a page called "Sharing the News" or something like that, where I could share information about the party we threw to share our news with our friends.) However, the backs of the pages are blank, so if I really feel like it, I can sneak in a few more details that are pertinent to our own story.

Anyway, I appreciate that all but a few prompts allow room for a relevant photo. Here's what's on each page:
  1. A Book About
  2. Before You Were Born (info on Mom and Dad, including places to put our own baby photos)
  3. Mom & Dad (how we met, how he proposed, etc.)
  4. Family Tree
  5. Expecting (date we learned you were on the way, Dad's first thoughts, Mom's first thoughts)
  6. Shower
  7. The Special Day! (when and where Mom went into labor, Dad's thoughts)
  8. Welcome (birth details)
  9. Naming (how we chose your name, other names we liked)
  10. Coming Home (vehicle we brought you home in, memories of first night, place for photos of nursery and house)
  11. Baby’s World (popular songs, movies, shows, etc.)
  12. Footprints
  13. Baby’s Mementos (This page is supposed to have a vellum envelope for hair clippings, etc., but mine was missing for some reason. I contacted the company last night, and I'm awaiting a response.)
  14. Birth Announcement
  15. Family Photos
  16. Friend Photos
  17. 1st Bath
  18. Baby’s Firsts (smile, laugh, solid food, sat up, waved; includes space for "other firsts")
  19. 1st Holiday
  20. 1st Year (a page to record height and weight throughout the year)
  21. 1st Birthday
  22. More Pictures
  23. More Thoughts
I like this page. It includes how we chose your name, its meaning, other names we liked, and nicknames we call you.

I suppose I should start filling this out before the details become hazy (okay, I don't actually think that's going to happen). Also, this is where I get really sad that my handwriting looks like a second-grade boy's. Waaah.

Anyway, go buy this book!

Monday, August 12, 2013

In Other News

I keep adding paragraphs to this thing in hopes of better explaining myself. Somebody, stop me.

The ol' blog's going private next week—temporarily, most likely. I use the term "private" rather loosely, as I'll gladly grant you access if you send me ( your e-mail address.

I'm feeling very vulnerable at the moment (Of the four hundred people who read my post about my latest miscarriage, about a dozen reached out.), and while I do enjoy sharing my story—and appreciate every single one of my creepers (that's a term of endearment)—I need to know who's following along right now.

I hate having to share news (i.e., pregnancies) retrospectively, so I'm going to be more in-the-moment with regards to what my uterus is up to—but I have to know who knows what; shit's about to get really personal up in this bitch. :) I loved being able to be document my feelings during the first trimester of my pregnancy with Arlo, and the only reason I felt comfortable enough to do so was because my blog was private.

I should note that this security change is mainly an attempt to keep track of which people from my IRL world are reading my blog. (Let me add that I'm glad you are! I just have to know who you are.) I wish there was a way to keep things open to all of the loss mamas who happened upon it during or after their own darkest days, but that's impossible. I want you to know that you are the reason I started this blog, and you are the reason I continue it.

To anybody who doesn't want to come out of the closet right now, I'll make all my posts visible to you again once I'm able to go public with a pregnancy—so you'll be able to catch up then, if you feel so inclined. See you soon, I hope!

(Oh, and I'm doing this now, rather than later, because it would be really obvious what was going on if I were to randomly do it two or three months from now. That would basically be the equivalent of posting a picture of a positive pregnancy test or something.)

19 Weeks

Arlo is 19 weeks old today, and he's my comfort, my bliss, my light.

So much orange!

It takes 4 limbs to hold a hedgehog.

The cutest little nerd I've ever seen.

Is the sink shrinking?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Here We Go Again

It's so tough. Sometimes, I wish I would have kept this blog anonymous so I could be completely honest about everything—without co-workers, friends, and family knowing every detail of my life—but then, I wouldn't be able to share pictures, and what fun would that be? I know you only continue to visit my blog to look at photos of my chunkalicious boy (and I can't say I blame you—he's pretty awesome).

Anyway, I promised myself I'd be 100% open on this blog with regards to my reproductive issues (whatever they may be) because I originally started this thing in hopes of making somebody, somewhere feel a little less alone—but at the same time, I really don't want the entire IRL world to know all of my private business.

After mulling it over for a few days, I've decided that while I have no idea who the hell reads this thing—or who may stumble upon it in the future—it's important for me to be honest with you.

So here goes.

I'm having a miscarriage. As I type this, I'm losing a fourth baby. Well, I guess waiting to lose it would be a more accurate statement. My poor stupid body is hanging onto a doomed pregnancy.

I'm sad, but more than that, I'm angry. I'm angry that after dozens of tests and painful procedures last year, nothing turned up anywhere. I believe in bad luck. I don't believe in this kind of bad luck. What the fuck is going on?

When I realized this pregnancy was most likely over a few nights ago, I snatched Arlo out of his rock 'n play and brought him into bed with me. I held his tiny hand, kissed his scrumptious cheeks a thousand times, and soaked his wild and wonderful hair with my tears.

And marveled at what a miracle he really is.

Danny and I have made five babies (just typing out that number makes me sick), and only one—our sweet, perfect Arlo—was able to join us in this world.

I'm doing my best to treat this loss as a reminder—albeit a painful one—of how truly blessed we are to have Arlo.

Shared the news with Danny by putting this shirt on Arlo and calling him into the room to help me with a dirty diaper (that didn't exist).

But I'm not sure I needed one. 

4-Month Photos

We got a fun surprise in the mail yesterday—our disc of 4-month photos from Brittany Graham Photography. Woohoo! This disc arrived just 5 days after our session, and there's a whoppin' 155 photos on it. Brittany doesn't mess around.

I mentioned here a few days ago that I was bummed Arlo wouldn't smile for his photos, and while I still wish he would have flashed us a few of his trademark grins, I do have to say that I love all of his crazy facial expressions. Brittany did such a nice job of depicting who he is at this age, and I'm so glad we're having her document Arlo's first year of life. I'm looking forward to our 6-month session. (You better smile then, Arlo.) 

Without further ado, here are some (okay, 14) of my favorites:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Into the Universe: A Letter to Arlo (By Danny)

Dear Arlo,

Every day I look at you, and I’m reminded of how lucky we are to have you. Maybe it’s a case of “daddy goggles” but I have never seen a child shine as bright as you. You smile with your whole body, and you aren’t shy about doing it. A friend of mine said, “You can tell a child is truly loved when he smiles with his whole soul.” He’s right. We love you even more than we ever thought possible, and your smile proves that.

Right now, we have to give you medicine three times a day for your baby reflux. It’s a pretty nasty tasting liquid that we have to shoot into your mouth, and by your sour expressions, we can tell you’re not the biggest fan of it. A few weeks ago as I was giving you your medicine, your face scrunched into a scowl, as if you were going to cry. All of a sudden, that face changed from being on the verge of tears to a giant grin—which turned into a hilarious fit of laughter. I don’t know why, but you just decided that you were going to be happy.

My hope for you is that you never lose this quality, that when you're feeling down and life gets rough, you shrug it off with a smile. I want you to go out into the world and give it hell. Never give up, no matter how bad the deck is stacked against you. You won’t always be able to control what happens to you, but you’ll always be able to control how it affects you.

Our dear friend Melanie made this funny picture for us:

The original picture is you looking devilish in your crib, and we joked that it looked like you were getting ready to blast off into space. Melanie took it one step further. While this picture is hilarious for many reasons, it’s also symbolic. You’re going to go out into the world and explore new places, meet new people, and create a life of your own. You’re going to blast off into the universe with Mommy and Daddy waving goodbye as you hurl toward the stars. We will always encourage you to follow your heart and your dreams, no matter where they may take you. 

We’ll also always be here if you want to come home.

I love you,

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sneak Peek: 4-Month Photos

By the time I realized I wanted to have Arlo's pictures taken at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, he was already 3 1/2 months old—so we decided to start at 4 months. Here are the two photos from Sunday's shoot that Brittany Graham has shared with us:
She said she should have the rest done in two weeks or so. Seriously can't wait. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

18 Weeks

Arlo is 18 weeks old today (not 18 months, like this blog stated about 4 minutes ago; thanks, Katy!), and we had his 4-month appointment this morning. The nurse practitioner thinks he might be waking up so often in the night because his reflux is burning his tummy, so she upped his dosage of Zantac. I'm hoping so hard that this is our solution.

Arlo is 16lbs 11oz and 24 1/2" long, putting him in the 80th and 31st percentiles, respectively. His giant noggin is in the 88th percentile. None of this comes as a surprise to us, though. We knew he was a fat little chunk with a big head. We also learned that he's begun the teething process, which does come as a surprise to us. The nurse practitioner says he should have a couple teeth within 6 weeks. He's going to look stinking adorable with them, but I'm a little sad he has to teethe so early. Not looking forward to watching my sweet boy go through that.

Oh, and shots still suck. Our poor little crybaby bawled hysterically—just like he did after his 2-month shots. Danny and I didn't cry like we did last time (okay, maybe there were a few tears), but the experience pretty much ripped our hearts out again.

Before shots. 

We had family photos taken yesterday morning, and of course the happiest baby in the world wouldn't smile. And wouldn't you know it—he was all smiles as soon as we got home from the session. He looks content in the two sneak peeks that Brittany Graham sent over last night, but he's still totally grounded.

No other big news. We're taking a break from the oatmeal for a couple months because it didn't do any good anyway. I'll enjoy not having to mess with it for a while. It was more of a hassle than I'd imagined.

Arlo still lives for his bouncy chair, only he enjoys playing with his feet while he's in it as much as he likes playing with the hangy toys. He'll be sticking those adorable tootsies in his mouth any day now.

A random photo that I find hilarious.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy Four Months: A Letter to Arlo

Dear Arlo,

You're four months old today, and you've become the happiest baby in the world. If you're awake, there's a 90% chance you're smiling—and it takes no effort whatsoever to make you grin. You find your grammy especially hilarious, and you've done most of your greatest belly laughs at her house. My favorite thing you do is throw your head back when you're laughing; sheer joy! I wish I could explain to you how magical your laughter is to the three of us. When you laugh, we all crack up and look at each other, and usually—even still—we have tears in our eyes. You make us so happy.

I always tell your daddy that the universe made you extra smiley to make up for the fact that you don't sleep at night. You wake up several times every night, and I hope next month's letter is all about how you've become a wonderful little sleeper. I've done a lot of research on sleep, and at this point, it might be time to let you "cry it out"—but we tried that for about 30 seconds the night before last, and I just couldn't follow through with it. You have to know that your parents will always be there for you, and letting you scream bloody murder in your crib isn't a good demonstration of this. I promise to rock and "shhh" you back to sleep for as long as you need me to, no matter how dead tired I know I'll be at work the next day. I'm your mommy.

We started feeding you oatmeal, in hopes that it would fill your tummy and help you sleep better at night, but it's definitely not helping. As cute as it is to watch you go after the food on your little spoon, we may take an oatmeal break until you're six months old or so, because it's just one more thing on our to-do list right now, and you don't need anything other than breast milk and formula yet.

You're the most perfect size right now—big enough that I don't feel like I'm going to rip your pinkies off when I'm dressing you, and small enough to still feel like a tiny baby in my arms. I'm excited to find out your height and weight at your doctor's appointment on Monday. I know you're growing like a weed because we already have a giant overflowing box of cute little clothes you've outgrown.

I haven't wanted to take my eyes off you since the moment you were born, but now, you're getting a lot more exciting to watch. You're always doing something with those wild limbs of yours. When you're in your jumperoo, you can touch the floor with one foot, so you're this close to being able to jump around in that thing—and I can't wait. You like grabbing the toys on your jumperoo, too, even though you can't reach them very well yet.

You can reach the toys on your bouncy seat, and you go crazy when you're in that thing! Sometimes, you have all 4 limbs wrapped around a hanging toy, and it's adorable. Another one of my favorite things you do is crank your leg (always your right leg!) in a bicycling motion to make your bouncy seat rock. How on earth did you discover that?

You still stick everything you can get your hands on right into your mouth. If you don't have access to anything, you put your hand in your mouth. We tried to give you a pacifier to prevent this, but you weren't having it. It's pretty hilarious to watch you try to gnaw on your entire fist anyway.

I love your baby voice so much. Your babbles are getting louder and more polysyllabic, and while you still babble mostly in vowels, you've added "ghee," "ma," "bee," and "caw" to your list of sounds. We're excited to see what you come up with next.

I'm too tired to think of a sweet closing paragraph. Just know that you make life so much better, and every night, I look forward to our tomorrow.


Couldn't pick just one photo this month.