Saturday, March 31, 2012

Me At 2

We can totally see who Annika looks like! She even thinks this picture is of her. I tried to find another old one of mine that looks more like her but I couldn't find one. Our eyes/nose/mouth look the same but she has way different facial expressions than I ever had!

This is one of those times were I really miss my parents. I would love for them to tell me what I was like at Annika's age and if I acted the way she does at all. I know the last time they saw her when she was 11 months old they both said that her personality wasn't at all like mine. I was more quiet and shy. Annika is not quiet or shy at all!!

So all I have are pictures to see what I was like. I can tell you that Annabel must look like Josh (another sad thing there, we have about 5 pictures of Josh when he was little and his mom died too).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Diet Changes For All

I read this blog post today about kids who eat processed foods.

I'm currently switching my entire eating lifestyle to "clean eating". No more processed crap, no more food with ingredient lists that are as long as a novel, and no ingredients that I can't pronounce or have no clue why it's in my food in the first place.

I will admit that Annika eats processed foods. Actually she's pretty bad, I'd say 95% of her diet is something processed. She eats fruit snacks, Goldfish, and a ton of other "snacks". I just recently convinced her to again try bananas and raisins but that's about it for fruit and don't even get me started on veggies.

Kids learn by example and she's going to eat what I serve her. What have I been serving her since she could eat normal foods??? Processed snacks. Why? Well, I have a million reasons and excuses why. It's easier, it's cheaper, she likes it. But it's not good for her.

So I'm slowing and gradually making the switch. Today I got her to take 1 bite of an apple. Progress? A little, she typically won't even look at an apple or allow it anywhere near her.

My goal is in 9 months to have Annika off all processed foods. In 9 months Annabel will be one year old and she'll be ready for real food but for her I want "real" food to be real. I don't want her to even start the processed food trap at all.

My main reason for all of this is looking back at my parents dying. Both were in the their 50s when they died. While heart disease wasn't the leading cause of death for either of them (mom had sepsis from a kidney infection and dad was a severe alcoholic) on both of their death certificates a contributing factor to their death was heart disease. My grandmother on my mom's side (who is still alive) had triple bypass surgery in her 50s, my grandfather on my dad's side (who recently died) had multiple strokes and heart disease. I can't allow this to happen to us. I don't want to not see my grandchildren grow up.

So that's our challenge and with our strong willed Annika it's going to be a tough one! By December our home will be processed food free!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our Method of Sleep Training

I hate to brag but Annabel currently sleeps 12 hours at night, solid. I know I've read a lot of other people's blogs who say it's impossible to have a child that sleeps that long without getting up and crying at some point but I'm being 100% honest. Annika was the same way at 10 weeks, Annabel has taken a little while longer and is now 13 weeks sleeping that long.

We have never used the "cry it out" approach but we have had our methods that I thought I'd share. Of course, I do realize that this may not work with all kids. It may just be ours that are lazy girls that love their sleep. For those of you who have tried everything and still have kids that don't sleep through the night I really am sorry. I have no idea how you deal with it. I realize that we're extremely lucky with our girls.

Here are my tips and methods that I believe helped in getting the girls to sleep:

#1: First day home from hospital, at night time baby's sleep in their own crib. Period.

If the baby just ate and has a clean diaper and cries a little that's fine. If the crying lasts more than you can stand (for us it's about 5 minutes straight) then cuddle a few minutes while standing (do not sit and get comfortable), help calm down the baby and lay them back down in the crib. The baby has to be awake or at least semi-awake when you lay them in the crib. This helps them get use to falling asleep on their own. Use a swaddle if necessary (both girls were swaddled the first week or so).

I do know that some parent's like co-sleeping, not saying this is wrong, I just don't like it for us personally. I like my sleep too much to have someone sleep almost on top of me, which is what Annika does if she comes into my bed after she's had a nightmare.

#2: Establish day time and night time.

I mean this should be common sense but it can be hard at first. Our method went with tip #1, babies sleep at night in their crib but during the day naps are taken someplace else with lots of light. Annabel either takes daytime naps in her pack n play which is in our dining room area, in her bouncer in whatever room we happen to be in or in our arms. For us daytime is for cuddles and if she wants to fall asleep in our arms during the day that's fine.

#3: Live your life while baby sleeps.

I hear about parents tip toeing around while babies nap during the day. We don't do this. We live our life like we normally do. We have the TV on, or music playing or we talk in our normal voices. We are not quiet because Annabel has decided to sleep in the middle of the day on the floor while we were playing with Annika. We did this same thing with Annika and now she can fall asleep anywhere, with any amount of noise if she's tired. Yesterday I actually vacuumed our floors while Annabel napped in her bouncer and even vacuumed directly underneath her without her waking up!

#4: Silence during night time feedings.

Yes I did just say in tip #3 to make noise and do what you normally do during the day but at night it's different. When Annabel and Annika used to wake up at night I had a strict routine with them. First I unzip their sleep sack and unsnap whatever they have on underneath, then I change their diaper, then I pick them up and fed them their bottle, burp and then lay them back down in the crib. I do all of this without saying a single word. I like to think of it as letting them know that I am not willing to play at this time, it's night time, we're strictly business! I know that tiny babies can't make it through the night without eating at least once or twice so I do not believe in letting a tiny newborn "cry it out". But this method of not talking works, after each time Annabel would take a bottle she'd lay right back down and go back to sleep.

So like I said, I know these tips wouldn't work for everyone but for us it does. According to Josh's sister she thinks a lot of it has to do with how relaxed both Josh and I have always been with the girls. We aren't tense people, we don't jump up every time one of the girls makes a tiny little noise. We really are pretty easy going when it comes to everything with the girls and that seems to work best for us.

And here is the daddy's girl:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Baby Products We Use

I'm often asked which diaper brand we think is best. Or what wipes do we use. Or even why do we use the formula we use instead of another kind. So I thought I'd share with you what brands we use and why we like them.


When Annika was born we used what we were given at our baby shower for a few months. We were extremely lucky to have received a ton of diapers. I never liked Huggies, they always leaked no matter what size I used on Annika, even during the day. Pampers I did like. They were soft and absorbed well.

Once it was time for us to buy our own diapers I first tried the Parent's Choice Wal-Mart brand. I found them to be stiff and too plastic-like on the outside. They actually kind of reminded me of Huggies.

That got me thinking, if Wal-Mart's diaper is like Huggies then Target must be more like Pampers. In my opinion they are. The Up and Up brand from Target is great. It's soft, absorbs a ton (Annika still wears the size 5 diapers to bed) and they are super cheap! Both girls currently wear them and we aren't going broke buying diapers. Plus if you have the Target debit card or credit card you get 5% off and I always get coupons for $1.50 off a box at checkout.


I swear Target isn't paying me to blog about their Up and Up brand but our favorite wipes also happen to be from Target. I always buy the unscented because I actually hate most baby related scented items.

Again to me these wipes are very comparable to Pampers wipes but actually more moist which means I use fewer. To me Huggies wipes are very dry and kind of scratchy. These Up and Up wipes are perfect.


I bet you think I'm going to say we use Up and Up formula too but we don't! Ha! Tricked you! We actually buy our formula from Wal-Mart just like we did for Annika. The Parent's Choice soy based.

We did try the Up and Up soy for Annabel and she was always gassy. I remembered reading another review online that say for some reason the Up and Up brand gives babies gas. Annika immediately starting sleeping through the night when we switched her to the Parent's Choice brand so after Annabel not sleeping through the night at the same age we decided to give it a try. Guess what? One day and night on Parent's Choice brand and she slept 8 hours straight. She never spits up and she hasn't had gas. It's also much cheaper than the brand names but has the exact same nutritional value. The only issue? We have to go to Wal-Mart to get it. I hate our Wal-Mart. Our Target is pretty much walking distance from our house, Wal-Mart is about 5 miles away and the parking lot is a homeless people hang out, so I make Josh buy it :)

Baby Lotion

Annika never had any issues with dry skin so I've always used whatever random lotion we have that we were given at her baby shower, almost 3 years ago. I still have lotion from it! In fact, I've figured out at the rate I use lotion that I have enough to use on Annika till she's 8 years old, no joke.

Annabel on the other hand has very dry skin. I'm thinking it may be from being born a little early. Her skin is just a different texture and feel than Annika's. Josh and I spent at least 20 minutes in Target comparing labels trying to find the best lotion for Annabel. Lately we've become major label readers and we wanted something with ingredients that we knew what they were, nothing weird added to it. We picked Shea Moisture.

For some reason I couldn't find it on the Target website, but you know, of course, that's where we got it from. Other lotions I tried on Annabel I'd have to apply twice a day sometimes to keep her from getting dry. I typically bathe her every 2-3 days and I only have to put this lotion on her after her bath, that's it, and she stays moisturized the whole time. It also smells nice, not like baby powder (which I don't like).

Baby Body Wash/Shampoo

I had a cry for help a few months ago on what body wash/shampoo to use on Annabel's dry skin. Someone suggested the Say Yes to Carrots brand. I LOVE it. So thank you to whoever suggested it! The body wash/shampoo we use is so gentle. It's a foam that lathers up and doesn't seem to be harsh and never dries Annabel's skin.

Again, I couldn't find it on the Target website but that's where we purchased it. It's a very mild soap that cleans well without over doing it.

And those are the brands we use and why. What do you all use and prefer?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Healthy Cookies

Annika LOVES helping me bake cookies but now with my new attitude towards eating things that are healthier I was having a hard time allowing her to make them every single weekend. Trust me, if she had a choice she'd make cookies every single day!

I looked on Google for "healthy chocolate chip recipes" and this was one of the first I found. I changed it a little bit so here's what I did:



•3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
•1/2 stick butter (I used unsalted)
•3/4 cup raw honey (I forgot to buy raw honey so I used regular and it worked fine)
•2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
•1 egg
•1 egg white


•1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
•1 cup whole grain rolled oats (I cut it to 1/2 a cup because Annika doesn't always like oats)
•1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
•1/4 tsp. cinnamon
•1 tsp. baking soda
•1 tsp. fine sea salt

•12 oz. package of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First stir all wet ingredients together. The original recipe says to do it with a spoon but I had to use my mixer for a minute to blend the butter right (which I softened in the microwave for a few seconds).

Then combine all dry ingredients. Then stir everything together with a spoon. The mix won't be as "dough-like" as normal cookies. It's a bit thinner.

Place small spoonfuls on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. 12 minutes made them just perfect!

They were a bit mushy when they were fresh out of the oven so I transferred them to cool on a mat and afterwards they were perfect. Annika loved them too! I'm so glad because these were tasty even without any sugar!

And I had never even heard of Ghirardelli chocolate chips before, OMG, never buying anything else again. They are soooo good!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

No Time to Blog

I seem to have very little time lately to blog. Two little girls are keeping me busy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Josh just left to go pick up our oysters for our feast later! Cannot wait to eat them!

I know a lot of people aren't fans of oysters but they are one of my favorite seafood things to eat! I LOVE pretty much all seafood except, strangely enough, lobster. I'm just not a fan of it's chewy texture at all. I love squid, clams, mussels, crab, and pretty much all fish!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back To Work

Tomorrow I have to go back to work. It's crazy to think that it'll be just one day short of 11 weeks. The last time I was there I was actually in labor!

I just found out last week that my supervisor has throat cancer. He is 41, works out everyday in the gym and doesn't smoke or drink. Unbelievable.

In the 6 years I've worked for this company on our floor (there are other cases on different floors in our building) we've had 3 cases of thyroid cancer, one breast cancer, one cervical cancer and now this. Thankfully everyone has been cured after treatment. My supervisor will be gone for 2 months to complete treatment starting next week. So I will see him tomorrow, Thursday and Friday and then he'll be gone. As far as I understand it was caught early and is treatable.

I'm going to miss the girls a lot tomorrow but I am so thankful that I don't have the added stress of either of them going to daycare. Josh and I will probably be exhausted by the end of the week but we both agree it's worth it to keep them out of daycare.

I'm really going to miss this, naked painting:

She actually has a Pull Up on but typically while painting she likes to take it all off. I told Josh today that we have a nudist living with us.

And I'm also really going to miss this sweet face:

I just love when she smiles!

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Pictures

Annika crying "no pictures, noooo pictures please"
Annika putting on her great-grandma's lipstick
Josh and Annabel taking a nap together
Annabel snoozing on our bed
Annika watching "Babe" with me (my favorite movie!)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Getting Ready to Run

I took the girls out for a test walk yesterday. I can't actually run with the jogging stroller until Annabel is 6 months old (she has to be able to support her own head).

Things I realized while using the stroller:

#1: This freaking thing is HEAVY. It has to be like 50 pounds. I work out and lift weights and I almost killed myself lifting this thing off the hook Josh hung it on. After we walked I couldn't hang it back up.

#2: I'm so glad it has the swivel wheel. If you don't have the wheel set to swivel and you have to do any sort of turn while walking it SUCKS. You have to lift the stroller up so it's just on the back wheels and pivot it. I have a feeling I will only be running straight aways (you have to lock the wheel in place while running).

#3: Do not test walk the stroller with both children on our usual walk. Annika has a full out meltdown because she wanted to walk. I really wanted to test it though close to home, I never thought she'd throw such a fit!

#4: It's super comfy for little Annabel. Since she can't support her own head yet she has to be reclined. She LOVED it. Usually she's rear facing in her car seat attached to the stroller so this gave her a whole new view. Her eyes where kind of bugging out of her head towards the end of the walk so I pulled the sun shade in front of her. I think it may of gotten a bit overwhelming.

#5: It's comfy for Annika too. The back of the seats have fluffy pads that are like lambs wool. The only issue I can see in this design is that we are in Florida and if I take the girls out when it's super hot they're both going to sweat a lot. I'm going to have to stick to late evening runs right before it gets too dark.

#6: I worried that I would kill myself pushing this thing while running. It's a lot of weight! I think the stroller is around 40 pounds alone, Annika is 30 and Annabel is 10 (right now anyway). That's 80 pounds of weight to push while running. Luckily it glides so perfectly that it's super easy to push. The thing practically moves on it's own (that's why there's a strap you have to tie to your wrist, it really will move on it's own). I can't wait to run with it in May...for now we will be enjoying some longer walks away from our usual walking course!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Comparing the Girls: 10 weeks

I think they look so much different now! Annabel and Annika both have my nose and mouth. Annika now looks like a mini version of me and she looks exactly like me when I was her age just with different hair (I had super curly and thick brown hair). I think what is different between the girls now is that Annabel has eyes more like Josh.

I love that this sweet little pink dress was the first dress both of them wore. It's totally going to be a little baby outfit that I keep forever.

Annabel is such a delicate looking little thing compared to my solid Annika! So sweet and so different!