Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Wow, it is so fun to have a baby again.

Babies are so cute!!

And so entertaining!!!

They turn a regular ole' gal like me into a MOM with a FAMILY

And you can cuddle them even years later!! (although sometimes they fight a little)


Thursday, January 05, 2017

Baby things you actually need

For baby #1, we had a big baby shower and got loads of stuff that I had carefully researched beforehand. And we bought even more stuff and got it all set up months in advance.

For baby #2, we bought a bunch of used stuff at a rummage sale about a month before our due date.

And as I was wondering out loud whether we had forgotten anything to a mom-friend with 3 kids she responded with "You don't really NEED anything, do you?"

And I realized, she's right! (sort of)

All you need for the baby is:

1. A carseat (if you have a car)
2. Diapers (although this, you don't even really need right away - the hospital gives you some!)

But seriously, there have definitely been some things we needed more than others.

Things we're glad we got:
1. Baby carrier (our favorites were the Moby and the Ergo)
2. Crib (and the book, "Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" which helps you get the baby to sleep in said crib)
3. Stroller (we got the kind you can pop the carseat into, and another one just for jogging - both were invaluable)
4. Video monitor (especially if you have a kid that has the uncanny ability to hurt themselves in any situation)
5. Pacifier (our babies would have been the end of us without this)
6. Swaddle (we liked the Miracle Swaddle for our bear-fighting baby #1 and the Kiddapodamus for our more mellow #2)
7. Breastpump - in Kansas, insurance now covers this! Yay!
8. Tylenol

Things we got but didn't need:
1. Coat - these shouldn't go on a baby that's strapped in to their car seat, and if you mostly drive everywhere then you'll never use it. INSTEAD you can get a carseat cover, or a carseat/stroller sleeping bag. Or if you're not feeling very fancy just use blankets.
2. Wipe warmer. A friend loaned us theirs to try. Not only did our baby not notice or care, but it had a little light on it that we eventually realized was waking our baby up at night! No thank you wipe warmer!!
3. Uncomfortable/cumbersome/ill-fitting/off-season clothes. And later, clothes that seemed perfect when purchased, that my kid just didn't like for some unknown reason. Unless you know you'll love it, buy used! SO much cheaper.
4. Shopping cart cover - we ended up with this somehow and never, ever used it. I could barely remember to bring the stuff I actually needed when I went out, much less this. And as a microbiologist I must say I don't think there are any more germs on a shopping cart than on all the other things my baby touches - which is pretty much everything.
5. Baby shoes - they just fall off! instead, get the little socks that look like shoes. So cute!!!

Things we got and didn't need but totally loved anyway:
1. Baby legs - those baby legwarmer thingies. Totally unnecessary but cute!
2. Bumbo chair/baby swing/rock-n-play - you can just set the baby on the couch or floor, but these things are quite handy.
3. Baby towel - obviously, you can use any old towel but the little monkey and duck towels are SO CUTE!!
4. A million extra bottles for the breast pump. Somehow I never had enough!
5. Changing table - you can talk yourself out of spending the $$ on it but then you get one and are so glad you did. And this is another one you can often buy used.
6. Bottle warmer - you think you can live without it and you can, but it really is nice.
7. Boppy pillow - I love mine so much I use it even when I don't have a baby around (like right now, to prop up my laptop). And I have taken it with me on many trips. But you can clearly just use a pillow.

I've mentioned this several times but can't say it enough: buying used is often way better - especially when you're not sure what you really need!

Happy babying!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Landon's birth story

As you may already know, Landon was born on Halloween. This was actually sort of planned. I was due November 2 (moved up from November 7), and given my age (38), history (baby #1 was induced at almost two weeks late), and how uncomfortable I was getting, we decided to induce on the first available day our doctor had the week I was due - which happened to be Halloween. We thought Halloween would be a fun birthday since it's one of our favorite holidays.

Me at almost 40 weeks pregnant. I'm smiling but I was more than ready to be done!!!
That morning, I ate a good breakfast and then the Studly Hubby and I headed to the hospital (Lawrence Memorial) for a 7:30 am induction. I guess they typically have 2-3 babies per day there, so it was all pretty routine for them even though it certainly wasn't for us. They started the pitocin drip on me at about 8:30. My contractions progressively got worse and worse. When they became truly uncomfortable, at around 1 pm, I had an epidural. Very quickly after that, the contractions got much worse and I was ready to push by about 3 pm (sometimes the epidural can speed things along, which seems to be what happened to me). 

Before I started pushing, we noticed that the baby's heart rate was dropping sometimes during the contractions. It kept coming back up afterwards, but the doctor warned me that if it doesn't come back up we might need to get him out quickly. I started pushing at about 4:00 pm. My doctor had to leave by around 5:00 to take her kids out trick or treating, so we were all hoping I would be done by then. I gave it three good hard pushes and we could see enough of the baby's head to tell he had a LOT of dark dark hair (just like his big sister!!) but he wasn't coming all the way out. On the second and third push his heart rate dropped and didn't immediately come back. We knew we had to get him out quickly, so the doctor decided to pull him out with a vacuum. She suctioned it to the baby's head on the fourth push and hauled him right out. He came out pretty easily and it didn't hurt thanks to the epidural but it was quite traumatic for me and I needed a lot of stitches afterwards. It didn't help that he was HUGE - 9 lb 7 oz. They had no idea he was going to be that big - we had even done an ultrasound the week before we he born to check this as his uncle Alex was 10 lb 12 oz at birth and I was worried he might be big too.

He had a healthy cry right away and was put on my chest so we could see each other. He was sooo cute! And completely looked like his big sister.

He was a bit angry at first but then settled down and seemed pretty happy to meet the nurses and get a little sponge bath. He was a good eater and a good sleeper from the very first night - he slept hard for about 3 hrs at a time at night and let us parents get a good night's rest. He passed his hearing test with flying colors and got a little pumpkin hat, and  got to meet his big sister the next day.

Landon and Layla met for the very first time the day after he was born. 
We were so excited for our two kids to meet each other! She was ECSTATIC but also a little bit nervous about coming to the hospital and seeing how we were doing. She waited until after school was out and her Grandma brought her over. She was practically bouncing off the walls when we let her in the room. She had loved him with all her heart from the minute she knew he was in my belly. 

Baby #1 meets baby #2

The Studly Hubby's Studly mommy also got to meet him and she absolutely adored him.

Nobody could believe how big he was, or how dark his hair was. I couldn't believe how much my butt hurt, and how much the Studly Hubby remembered about babies. We stayed in the hospital for two days, and had an easy transition home largely because Grandma stayed on for about a week to help with all the little things that needed help. We both took about two weeks off of work, and spent a lot of time hanging out with our new addition and totally falling in love with him. 

Blog revival and baby announcement

I can't believe it has been two years since I posted on this blog.

I used to post almost every week!!

I'm not sure what happened, or if I'll be able to start posting regularly again. But something Big happened, and it brought me back here because I wanted to share about it.

We had another baby!!

After a lot of debating we finally decided to procreate again. We are getting old and it was now or never. Also baby #1 is growing up (she's in first grade now) and I wasn't ready to move past all the cute babyness she brought into our lives.

But boy was it a tough decision. Our jobs are more demanding than ever. Our first kid keeps our schedule full and continually challenges our parenting skills in new ways. And I still have dystonia - even though it is well controlled with botox, there was no telling how my symptoms would be during my pregnancy or after, and it was a big decision whether i wanted to continue my regular treatments despite the unknown risk (i did, but this is for another post).

This new baby's name is Landon. He is two months old tomorrow. He is very cute and very sweet. He is identical in looks to his sister, opposite in personality, and just as happy and healthy. We consider ourselves very lucky.


As with Layla, I'd like to use this blog to commemorate some of his milestones as a sort of journal for myself, to use for a baby book I'd like to make for him - but I'm already falling behind. Well, better something than nothing!! Here goes...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In case you're wondering what the KU Jayhawk really is...

The KU Jayhawk, famous in these parts...

Here is a complete description of how it was born, brought to you by the wall of the coffee shop on Mass St and 7th...

And from the wall of the KU Card Center at the Union, if you ever wondered what a "ElsaJay" (from Frozen) might look like...

And from the wondrous inter web, a "SuperJay" (my favorite)...

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Lawrence restaurant - Genovese

The Studly Hubby and I are on a mission to find our new favorite restaurants in Lawrence. We've already discovered a few gems (Wheatfields, Little Saigon and Wa Sushi) and a few clunkers (Marisco's). Then there are the old standbys; Chipotle, Famous Dave's and Jimmy John's, that are somehow more exciting in a new city.

Today we got out of the house too late to catch breakfast at Wheatfields and it's never a good time to hit the other famous breakfast place downtown, the Roost (1-hr waits are unbearable with a 4-yr old). So we walked down the street to Genovese, an italian place that just started serving breakfast and wasn't the least bit crowded.

One thing I love about Lawrence is that most of the restaurants downtown have an old-timey feel to them that makes them really charming, because most of the buildings they are in are the original or near-original from the 1800s. The history nerd in me soars to be in places with such rich history.

A table at Genovese, with the 1800s stone wall in the background

We loved the food (mostly) and will go back. Although we've definitely adjusted to midwest prices, as at $10 per meal we considered it expensive.

Happy and full!
Me thinking: hmmmmm.... I should really blog about this place

Lawrence street art

Is street art becoming more hip, or did we just move to a place where it's more hip? Or did we never go out before now?

We were out on the town this weekend and saw TWO incidents of street art. First, a snowman that looked like a sculpture but was actually someone wearing a costume. After an audience had gathered to look closer, the snowman would move suddenly and make everyone scream.

Second, at the library we saw a toy soldier. The guy was standing so still I thought it was really a statue, even after already being tricked by the snowman. Then he moved like a robot and beckoned to us to come closer. Layla shrieked and ran away. I snapped a photo. Then I ran away too. I think he was trying not to laugh (he did a good job!). Then he got a new customer and I watched it all happen again.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Is bad posture neurological?

I have had bad 'slouchy' posture all my life. I spent most of my life feeling bad about it on the assumption that I could actually fix it if I tried harder. But I tried pretty hard, and it never went away.

Then in my 30s I was diagnosed with cervical dystonia. It's a neurological condition that causes, at the very least, bad posture. In addition to the trauma of having a movement disorder and all that comes with it, this really rocked my whole idea of bad posture and where it comes from. In the early days, I thought the bad posture might have caused the dystonia. After reading up on it and finding out about the mutations that lead to dystonia, and that many are in neurotransmitter synthesis pathways (which have nothing to do with posture), I slowly came to realize that if anything, it was the other way around - the dystonia caused the bad posture. Have I always had dystonia, but in a milder form? I guess I'll never know, but the thought really made me look at my life through a different lens.

Dystonia is thought to affect 3-5x as many people as have been diagnosed - this means a LOT of people are walking around with dystonia that don't know it. And if a mild case just causes bad posture (or other problems like scoliosis, headaches, etc), then who knows how many more people might have dystonia-related conditions that don't have any idea what dystonia even is.

This really challenges the prevailing view that bad posture is inherently preventable. If the source is neurological, no amount of exercise or discipline will correct the problem. You can stretch and strengthen and stick a rod down your shirt and everything else but the only thing that is going to help you is Botox because that specifically relaxes those muscles that are misfiring because of faulty wiring in your brain.

Doesn't this change your perspective a little?

So I googled 'bad posture' and found this - anyone know what movie it's from?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Green tomatoes at their finest!

This past weekend the temperatures were below freezing and with almost no snow on the ground and nothing in particular keeping us busy, we did some baking. Or rather, the Studly Hubby did the baking, while Layla and I cheered him on. He made chili (with cornbread), and a special new apple crisp with GREEN TOMATOES. I was a little uncertain when he brought home the recipe (they were giving it away at the co-op with samples of some they had made, and a story about a local farmer whose tomatoes all got picked early because of the frost).

The apple crisp inspired me to post on the J&D Recipe Blog again, after ~8 yrs. It was that good! Although, I didn't post the actual recipe as it's really long and came from a recipe book you can buy for $4 on Amazon.