Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our weekend recap (So what if it's Tuesday?)

This past weekend can pretty much be described in two words: Quality Time and Outside. Ok, so technically it's three words, but you get the point.

We canceled all showings and declined any new ones and instead, opted to do something we haven't done in several months- whatever we felt like doing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's a Preemie Thing. Or is it?

Last week, we had a visit from the NC Child Development Services Assessment Program (CDSA). Actually, we've been getting visits every 5-6 weeks since last August. In short,it's an early intervention program that monitors Bea's development until she's three years old. Because of Beatrice Kate's very low birth weight (in this case, determined as less than 1,000 grams) she was automatically qualified and placed into the program for free (to us) before she even came home from the hospital.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: Re-dedication

I'm not even going to pretend that the reason I haven't posted a meal plan for the past three weeks is because we've been eating so healthy, we haven't needed one. Nope. It's because our efforts to eat healthy were tempted off the rails by a combination of red velvet birthday cupcakes, Valentine's Day best intentions (even if belated) and Girl Scout Cookies.

But we're putting all that behind us and getting back on track And for me, it includes a new strategy. I had been fighting it for a while because I'm cheap and didn't want to pay for it but I had to give in. I've re-joined Weight Watchers.

It's been difficult getting back into the habit of tracking and counting points; but I know it's a tried and true system that works. Even more importantly, it works well for me (specifically) when I stick to the plan. Part of that plan includes planning and thinking about our meals. So with that in mind- here's what's on our menu this week and (for those who care, with WW Points included):

Friday, February 18, 2011

I am SO over this ...

I think we've mentioned a time or two that our house is currently up for sale, and has been for nearly a year now. This doesn't bother us as much as you may think because it's not that we have to move; its that it would be nice to move. To Durham, specifically. Why would we leave Raleigh to move to Durham?

There are several reasons, but for us the biggest appeal is a shorter drive to work for Casey (the only member of this family that currently has a commute longer than the walk to the kitchen from the bedroom). He currently spends about an hour and a half a day in the car driving to and from Duke. That's time he could be spending with us, you know, his family.

Also, we just really, really like Durham. It's weird and eclectic (sort of like us) and it's up-and-coming in the world of cultural events, new restaurants and community activities. In fact, it was recently named one of the top 41 places to visit in the world by the NY Times!

Of course, when considering a move to Durham, it's always important to weigh those benefits with the possibility of a naked crack addict walking through your yard at some point during the night looking for a bike to steal or a front porch swing to sleep on. But we're OK with that (well, maybe not OK with it, as we are willing to accept it).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Man (or babies) cannot survive on Puffs alone ...

But dammit, she's going to try:
Not part of a complete breakfast.
A new battle has sprung up here at the Collins Homestead. The battle of finger foods versus pureed meals. Specifically, the battle over Puffs and actual, calorie and nutrient fortified foods.

After her initial introduction to solids, Bea was on an eating spree. Turning up her nose at sweet foods like fruits and sweetened yogurts. She would practically scarf down a bowl of meat puree or rutabaga and parsnips. I'll even admit that I was a bit smug about what a great eater my daughter was turning out to be.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Embracing new technology ...

Ok, so I don't know why we haven't done this yet but... we're now officially on Twitter! Click here to follow us or search for "MamaBusyBea" to get updates (possibly obsessive, crazy, frequent ones)!

Happy Tweeting!

Love to look at pictures of your family? Listen up ...

I've got a special giveaway this week to a lucky Bea Team contributor! I actually don't think I've ever been more excited to give something way and that's because I know (without a doubt) that you will love this prize as much as I do. Here's a hint:

Got your attention? Good. This week, we're giving away a free photo shoot from Laura Simson Photography, anywhere in the Triangle! Even better, included with this photo shoot is a disc of all the resulting high-resolution images.

Laura is responsible for all of our amazing pictures of Beatrice Kate and she somehow has the magical ability to make me seem semi-photogenic as well (which, I assure you, is a very difficult task). Her photography style is so beautiful and artistic that you could easily use some of her images as artwork.

Laura is one of the sweetest ladies around and has such a great rapport with children. She makes you feel comfortable and relaxed as she's snapping shots away.

No Olan Mills style shots here! Laura likes to get out amongst the masses and will come to your home for the shoot, or can meet you somewhere in the Triangle for an outdoor location. Her styling ideas are always creative and her journalistic style of photography is sort of like having your own personal paparazzi for the day.

Want more proof of her wizard-like skills behind the lens? Check out these images of Beatrice Kate taken before Christmas and when she was 6 months old.

So, now that you're drooling for a chance to win all of this for free... let me give you some fine print.


There are two steps to winning this prize: 
1- Click here to make a $25 tax-deductable donation to support The Bea Team.
2- If you're on Facebook, give a "Like" to Laura Simson Photography. Here is her direct link. I know you'll like her in real life too.

The extra fine print: The shoot is limited to four people (Don't worry if you're into hoarding animals, pets don't count towards the max and they're invited too) and you must live in the Triangle area (apologies to the 6 people in Slovenia who read frequently).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

She's got a fever. And the only prescription is more cowbell ...

 First, if you're scratching your head at the post title, click here to see a related video.

Anyway, like most things in our lives these days, Valentine's Day didn't go exactly according to plan. Instead of waking up and making The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls from scratch, finishing Casey's gift and prepping our dessert... we spent most of the day in the pediatrician's office or on the phone with them for a surprise, phantom fever.

I noticed that Bea felt a little warm, more warm than her normal tiny-fireball-in-human-form warm, during her pre-breakfast nursing session. I took her temp, (ahhem, rectally) and was shocked when it read 102.8. I sprinted off the bed to locate my only source of sound parental advice some reasonable guidelines for parenting What to expect the First Year on whether to call the doctor or not.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A slight delay in today's programming ...

Thanks to a surprise, freak fever that Beatrice Kate woke up with this morning. We have a doctor's appointment at 3:15 today, so I'll update when we know more- but she's not showing any outward signs of being sick just a nearly 105 degree temperature (which as since decreased to around 101 after a cool bath, some milk and a dose of Tylenol.)

So, any positive thoughts or short prayers our way would be appreciated. I think everyone knows how much I fret and obsess about her getting sick... so let's hope this is just teething and not a real-deal illness.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hopefully, he'll re-gift this to his wife ...

This week's giveaway winner for a free week of class from Stroller Strides of Midtown Raleigh is...

Jonathan Dallaire! 

Luckily (since Stroller Strides is a fun, "Mommy and Me" work-out class), Jon is married to Amy who he can (hopefully) re-gift his prize to, and she can bring their adorable set of twins to class!

Congratulations Amy Jon!!

Next week, we have a very special prize... it starts on Monday but here's a hint. Want a jump-start on your chances to win? Donate $25 to The Bea Team and support us at the 2011 March for Babies on April 30!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Really yummy recipe: Spinach Stuffed Portabellas...

Case and I just had a really new recipe tonight, Spinach Stuffed Portabellas, and I thought I would share. There is no picture of it because, well, we stuffed our mouths so quickly that I didn't think to take one in time; but trust me, it's nice enough to serve to guests. It's also incredibly filling. I didn't think it would be so I made a side of black beans with bell pepper and tomato but we ended up not really even wanting to eat them!

Anyway, here is the recipe, which I did not create. You can find the original version here. What you see below is what we used, which means it's what we had on hand:


Ingredients:
2 Portabella Mushrooms
1/2 bag of baby spinach leaves
1 garlic clove (you could use more)
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of reduced fat feta
Generous sprinkle of salt, black pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes (a palm full)
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Portabellas
  1. Wipe clean and remove stems.
  2. Place in a baking dish with top facing down.
  3. Pour white wine over top of each mushroom
  4. Let marinate for 45 minutes.
Spinach Stuffing
  1. Heat olive oil in saute pan.
  2. Saute spinach and garlic until wilted on medium heat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except for mozzarella cheese.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Stuff portabellas with spinach mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes in a 350 oven.
If you're into counting Weight Watchers PointsPlus, it says that these are 4 points each- though, I think it's really more like 2.5-3.

The Advice Guru ...

When I first announced that we were expecting a baby last fall, my good friend Eva told me the best advice I got throughout the pregnancy: Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one. At the time I though, "Wow, that was weird." But since attempting to raise a baby myself, I've come to understand exactly what she meant.

For some reason, from the moment find out you're expecting everyone feels the need to offer up advice, solicited or not. Unfortunately, this continues when the resulting child arrives. Even more unfortunately, is that this "advice" comes from strangers and family alike.

Here are a few topics I seem to get the most help on:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Call up Webster. I've got a new term ...

It's so secret that I love a good deal. From coupon shopping and sale matching- I love to save money. Why pay full price when you can get most everyday items for free or extremely cheap? After a few good months of smart shopping, it doesn't take much effort before you've developed a little stock pile for yourself:
I'm not as crazy as this makes me look. At least I don't have cats too
This is probably how most Hoarders start their addictions, I imagine. Now, I've found a new way to feed my saving addiction without ever needing to leave my house- Amazon Mom. You see, by signing up for Amazon Mom, I get free shipping on most things! Free TWO DAY shipping. That means I can order something on Saturday and it's at my house by Monday! It's glorious. Don't worry- I'm not breaking the bank by ordering a life's collection of antique piggy banks or Martini shakers. It's not eBay. I'm usually only getting stuff that we would otherwise buy somewhere else, and at a cheaper price!

I'm so addicted to buying things we need on Amazon that I've coined a new term: Amazonin' It. As in:
"Shoot, we forgot to get something for my niece's birthday this weekend." "Not a problem, I'll just Amazon them something tonight and she can get it before her party on Saturday." or "Where did we get all these diaper liners?" "Oh, I Amazoned them last week because we were running low."

Amazon has come a long way since it's inception. It's no longer just for books and media. You can get ANYTHING on Amazon. (Well, nearly anything. Again, it's not eBay.) It's great for things like diaper liners, cloth wipes (which I'll do a post on this week), cloth diapering supplies, Christmas presents, etc. You see where I'm going here.

You see- a solution to a problem and a problem in itself.

Birthday, Banjos, Barbeque and Babies ...

The dust is finally settling here at the Raleigh Collins' Household after a very, very eventful Saturday. After competing in the annual Krispy Kreme Challenge that morning, Casey continued his birthday festivities with a party celebrating his favorite things: barbeque, beer, banjo music, and close friends.

Those friends, for the most part, also have babies. So Beatrice Kate may or may not have thought the party was for her (even if she did sleep through most of it). Friday night, Casey and Bea brushed up on their music skillz:
Caution: Has flute, not afraid to use it
Father-Daughter Family Band

But, first things first. Yes, we had planned to participate in the Krispy Kreme Challenge together as a family on Saturday morning. Casey has competed in it for the past few years and regrets it loves it every time. But, when we woke up on Saturday morning to an early rendition of "April Showers" in February, Beatrice Kate and Ashley elected to stay in the comfy confines of our house.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Quick March for Babies update ...

I am so happy and proud to report that as of this morning, The Bea Team is well over halfway to our goal of $1,000! Thank you so much everyone and great job Bea Team members for raising money for such a very worthwhile cause!!

If you're interested in donating to The Bea Team, you can do so by clicking the purple box at the top of our blog or by clicking here to donate directly to our team. Remember: Every $25 in donations earns you a chance to win one of several amazing raffle prizes!! Even if you can't donate $25, any amount, even as little as $5 or $10, goes a long way towards providing comfort and support to families with a baby in intensive care.

Keep up the excellent work and let's make The Bea Team one of the top-raising family teams at this year's walk!

The Party Planning Committee

After our breakfast out yesterday morning, Beatrice Kate and I had a busy day preparing a birthday party for our Number One Guy. There were balloons and a cake to be purchased, a kitchen to be decorated and most fun of all- a scavenger hunt to set-up for Casey.

When he got home from work last night, Casey was greeted with his birthday cake and cards, a glass of bourbon and party hats:
Drinky, drink, drink.
  
Not too sure about this party hat business ...
Ditto.
Helping Dad read his cards. Afterward, she ate the envelope.
 After the traditional birthday song and dance routines, it was time to get down to the scavenger hunt, which ultimately led Casey to his birthday gift ...
Starting things off ...
Notice Arnold comes along to ensure safety.

Don't worry, the grill wasn't actually in use at the time.
Beatrice Kate was disappointed that it wasn't bathtime ...
So, what did he find at the end of the search?

Spotting the gift ...
Ta-daaah!
The party hat makes him look like a serious musician
Cooper offers little assistance. Unless it's an edible violin.
A Natural from the get go.
Watching and learning. She'll get one too someday

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dear Casey ...

Today is my sweet husband's birthday. I cannot express in words how incredibly proud I am to have him as my husband and how proud I am of the person he has grown into over the years. He's not only an amazing husband, he's become a first class father and someone that I am so grateful to know!

To celebrate, we did something we've never managed to do since having a baby. We all got up, got dressed and had breakfast at a restaurant! We went to Mad Hatters Bakeshop in Durham, to be exact, and it was FABULOUS.

Beatrice Kate must have known that today was a special day. She slept through the night and didn't wake up until we went in and switched on her nightlight! Casey and I to got up and dressed and got everything ready before we woke her up. We even made it out of the house by 7:30 as a family! That doesn't even happen on most mornings when Casey is the only one dressed and ready to go somewhere.

The dogs also did their part to bestow a "gift" on Casey for his birthday. Although- this is not really the kind of present one hopes to find first thing in the morning. Regardless, it didn't dampen the day!

When we were in the restaurant, we did everything we could to make it enjoyable for all members of the family. This included bringing along breakfast (yogurt and fruit puree), a banana, Puffs (of course) and water for Beatrice Kate. She was so well-behaved. I can't even believe it!
Need my morning jolt, please.

Puffs, part of a wholesome breakfast
She sat and played with her place mat and Puffs for nearly an hour. Casey and I got to enjoy our breakfast and have an actual conversation! Apparently, the number of Puffs available to play with and eat directly coordinates to the number of minutes of adult conversation gained.We'll keep this in mind for future adventures out in public.

As long as I have Puffs, nobody gets hurt ...
As usual, Beatrice Kate charmed the crowds. Anyone who gave her a passing glance or smile would get a giant, two-toothed grin in return. Some were even bestowed a giggle or a coo! I swear this kid knows how to turn on the charm to maximize compliments.

Twinsies.
Anyway, we have a few other suprises planned for today in honor of Daddy's birthday... until then, here's a picture of the handsome devil at about the same age as Beatrice Kate (corrected):
Yep, see I told you... Twinsies.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Things I've learned since becoming a mother ...

I was just thinking the other day about how motherhood has changed me. Besides the obvious physical changes, I think I've learned a few things since Bea was born. Things like:
  • How to do the Mom-patented "Sling your arm across the passenger seat when coming to a sudden stop in the car" routine
  • How to do the Mom-patented, "You've got a little schmutz on your face. Here, let me clean it with spit" move
  • How to wipe your baby's entire face in one, all-encompassing swipe
  • How to tell if the cry you're hearing means, "I'm hungry", "I'm sleepy", "I'm cranky", "Mommy, I need you", "Hold me", "No, don't hold me", "Get me out of this car seat", etc.
  • What the sound of poop is like
  • The ability to recognize the sound of poop from two rooms away
  • The ability to recognize if poop is on the way based solely on the face your baby is making
  • The ability to know the exact size and amount of resulting poop from said sound
  • That stretch pants can, in fact, be categorized into three categories: "Only to be worn at home", "Only to be worn at home when your husband is at work because they're so terrible" and "These should be OK to wear in public, right?"
  • I now know which shirts and outfits I can successfully and stealthy nurse in public in
  • I now know which shirts and outfits hid vomit the best
  • The ability to know if the burp you just heard will even result in vomit or not
  • The exact moment in which your baby falls asleep enough to transfer them from your arms to their crib
  • The exact amount of swaying/rocking/shifting side-to-side that will achieve such sleep
  • I can now plan how long outings and errands will take to the exact minute and how much milk to bring along to make it through until we return home
  • I know or now remember most, if not all, Children's sing-along and bible songs with accompanying hand motions.
  • Knowing if the cough I'm hearing is a choking-on-green-beans cough or a fake-attention-seeking-Mommy-look-at-me cough.
  • I know that it is possible to take a full-body shower in less than 2 minutes, including conditioning my hair
  • I know that it's possible to go more than 3 nights in a row with less than 3 hours of consecutive sleep (it's not fun, but it's possible).
Being a mommy has taught me a lot of things- but probably the most important thing it's taught me is my own strength. This is hard work- and I never would have imagined how much I would love it!

What are things that Mommyhood has taught you?