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About

Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

Mama's Nest

Pick Me! Thursday, May 31, 2007 |

So, I'm not big on entering contests (mainly because I never win anything) But Steph has a brand new giveaway that I can't bear to pass up: Shoes. Baby Shoes. Enough said.

And I have my wish list all ready to go- there are these, or these, or these, Oh, what about these? Or... Is anyone clicking all these links?!

Anyway, head on over to enter away.

• 4 Chirping

Wordless Wednesday - Xavier's New Smile Wednesday, May 30, 2007 |

Before

After

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Trooper Tuesday, May 29, 2007 |

My son is amazing. Seriously. If I didn't know he'd had surgery this morning I'd have no clue. I love that God made our little one's so resilient! The surgery went perfectly and Javi has 4 brand new pearly whites to show off with that infectious smile of his.

Upon getting him checked in they gave him a liquid sedative ("kiddie cocktail") to calm him a bit, and it did the trick. Within minutes he was bit drunk with love and giggles. Off course the hardest part was seeing him off... and waiting.The doctor was out to see us in about an hour with the great news and just a few minutes later we were back with our boy. He had a tough time coming out of the anesthesia and nurse "Snarky" didn't help much. He was pretty confused coming to and they had put the IV in his foot wrapped with a bandage- did I mention he can't stand having things on his feet? Needless to say, it was a bit tough explaining in his haze that it was important he not rip the needle from his foot. Other than that it was smooth sailing. He was happy nurse after having been nonny-free for nearly 7 hours. And for the first time in months it didn't hurt! (Xav's old teeth were pretty sharp and jagged so if he go the least bit lazy with his latch I was in some pain- but no more!)

Within an hour X was waving and flirting with everyone that passed, telling us all about Oliver, tractors and his dear baby. He's a little sleepy and snuggly, just a bit out of sorts but he wants to play and go see the geese as if it were any other day. So I'm off to snuggle and tend to my babe who is reminding me at the moment how much I appreciate those little things.

Thank you Lord!

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Zzzzz's Monday, May 28, 2007 |

Off to bed early tonight.
We have to have Xavier at the hospital at 6:15am for his surgery.
Prayers please!!!

• 6 Chirping

Car Talk Sunday, May 27, 2007 |

I'm not really a car person. I never really thought much about what I drove as long as it, well, drove. My first car lasted 2 weeks before the engine seized, car number two made it a couple of months and then there was my trusty Plymouth Reliant. Bought at an estate sale for $500 practically in new condition minus an ashtray full of cigarette butts even though it was 15 years old. I really liked that car and parting was a bit sorrowful, but I was happy to liquidate so I could hop on a plane with my new hubby and move to Texas. In Texas we shared an old little Ford Escort (that by the grace of God had made it down there still running!) And it did it's thing well until I was driving home from work late one night and had a tire blow in what the tow truck driver described as "crack alley". Yeah, we decided it might just be time for a new car.

After much research. We had our hearts set on a Mini Cooper and soon after sweet Alice was ours. She's a zippy little thing (I have the speeding tickets to prove it), heated leather seats, moon roof/sun roof combo, climate control, run flat tires.... ahhh. And did I mention brand spanking new? We bought her in Illinois and broke her in by driving back home Texas (great idea, right?) Super cute and really safe, our Mini was a welcome addition to our family. That is until baby came. I soon discovered that there is no room for a stroller, car seat, diaper bag and people. Well, we made it work but things are a bit cozy. I very quickly found myself jonesing for a minivan. Me. A minivan! I never thought I'd say those words. David was horrified.

I have had moments of weakness. Moments I realized how much I love our Mini (have you noticed my referring to the car as "her" and yes, her name is "Alice"- Thanks Timmy!). I found myself saying "Well, I'd be perfectly happy with the Mini, if we had one that's automatic." (shifting while driving and parenting is quite a feat!) Or, "What if they added a third door so I don't have to fold myself into a pretzel to get X in his car seat." Or, "Why don't they make the trunk open differently (it's a teeny tiny hatchback) so that if I have to buy toilet paper and groceries everything will fit!"

Well guess what? David calls me into his office last week with the alluring words, "Hey honey, do you want to buy a new car next year?", "Um, YES!!!". The Mini gods must have heard me because next year they are releasing the "Clubman". A Mini with "reverse opening rear doorlets", split rear doors, extra cargo space and seating for five! Alice will become David's baby and the Clubman our new family sedan. So excited. And now I wait!

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Everybody Poops Saturday, May 26, 2007 |

They do. And Xavier will be happy to tell you. Especially about Oliver (our French Bulldog). Several times a day X will bring me the leash and in the firmest voice command "Oliver...POOP!" He loves taking Oli out to do his dirty work. And Xavier well, he can poop with the best of them. The Baby Bjorn Little Potty is our friend. Two for the house, one for the car and life is good. He's been going poo in said potty 100% of the time since he got it around his first birth day... He's a pooping prodigy I tell you.

I have a friend, a former client in a group home where I worked, who loves to exclaim "Happy Pooper!" (such joy!) But unfortunately these past couple days have been a bit unhappy in the poop department for my little guy. Diarrhea, with a bit of blood and mucus mixed in for good measure. Sorry, I know, gross. Every hour or so, it's a mad dash to the potty, I lost count of how many times I woke up last night to the X-man chanting "Mama, poop! Poop, mama" So yes, gross and disturbing too. Especially when I called our pediatrician (very much a 'you can handle it at home' type of guy) and he immediately says- "Um, yeah, you need to get him to the ER right away". Yikes. Turns out he's had 4 kids this past week hospitalized for E Coli - and Xav's symptoms fit the bill.

And so we're off to the ER where we wait for 2 1/2 hours - in the waiting room. And while I'm ready to storm off or crawl out of my skin, my patient little patient doesn't seem to mind a bit. Finally we get back to a room and they draw some blood and "collect a sample" to culture and we wait some more. Actually, X took a catnap and I got some chatting in with my mama-in-love so it wasn't all that bad. But it's hard. And scary. The unknowns.

And so 5 hours later we're on our way home. We still don't know exactly what's going on. Right now, maybe a viral infection. We might know more when the cultures come back in a day or two. Or we might not. And so we wait. Thankfully Xavier seems to feeling fine, except for the few moments he's on the potty. And I seem to recover from the sight and smell, just in time for the next bout...

Ahh, the wonderful world of poop.

• 7 Chirping

Do you go Green? Thursday, May 24, 2007 |

Check out the new iGo Green section at iVillage (I'm especially fond of the baby & family section). Plus you can enter their sweepstakes for a new green prize each week and the chance to win a hybrid car!

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Wordless Wednesday - Captain Bubble Beard Wednesday, May 23, 2007 |

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Updates Galore Tuesday, May 22, 2007 |

Yes, we're all still breathing! The past week or so has been a whilrwind, I feel like we've been on the go non stop and am just starting to put the brakes on a little.

Xavier had two dentist appointments last week. A follow-up with his usual dentist and then a third opinion with our super spectacular new dentist. After a two month wait we returned to X's dentist only for her to tell us she wanted to pull his front four teeth and essentially leave them that way until his adult teeth come in. A scary thought, and not just for cosmetic reasons, but my mind jumps to his speech and eating and of course what other kids would say when they start to notice these things. So of course we set out for another opinion. I already had the name of a doc who came highly recommended from our last search, so we set up an appointment for the next day. The difference was night and day! These people were seriously angels! And best of all the dentist can save his teeth! He'll still have to have surgery, but the options and outlooks are so much more optimistic and I'm very comfortable with the hands he'll be in. We have to go to the hospital today to meet with the anesthesiologist (he has to be put under- the scariest part!) and get his pre-surgical physical, and then next Tuesday (May 29) he'll have surgery. Deeeep breath!

Saturday my cousin got married and she had the faith to hire me as her photographer! Sure I'm always snapping pictures of Xavier but I had forgotten how much I love being behind the camera in a somewhat professional way. My dad's brothers and sisters (he's one of 5) were all in town for the first time in almost 20 years, and while my thoughts were leaning towards disaster it was great. We were even all able to get together for a good ol' fashioned Greek restaurant breakfast, complete with chain smoking and all.

And most importantly, the X-man walketh. None of that hand holding, walking my mama's side stuff. I'm talking big boy, on his own steps. Complete with giggle soundtrack. Really makes me appreciate the novelty of being able to move on your own! And the past two days have brought an onslaught of boy-ness... the climbing and jumping, bopping one's head and laughing hysterically while yelling "Ouch". And then there is the fascination with geese (geeeeesths) Thankfully we have a park withing walking distance that is occupied by a zillion little goose families, because at least once a day we must make the trek to feed the geese. Actually once we get there X zones in his favorite few and I feed them while he eats the bread he's supposed to be throwing their way...

Ahhh, life is good!

• 9 Chirping

A Blog Free Week Friday, May 18, 2007 |

Brought to you by Mr.X...

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Happy Mama's Day Saturday, May 12, 2007 |


"God could not be everywhere, and therefore he created mothers."
Jewish Proverb

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The Thinker Friday, May 11, 2007 |

I was honored to discover that Heidi from Butterfly Mama and Jaymi from FlipFlop Momma both gave me the Thinking Blogger award and so I'm paying forward with some Thinking Blogger awards of my own:
  1. Carol Jean Phillips - She's new to this blogging thing, but if you check out her first post you'll see what I mean. Carol is an AMAZING woman and I love her so!
  2. Cara @ MamaC-ta - We have so much in common I can't help but love her- Never afraid to lay it all out there, she sticks her hand in the hot topics with enough wit to keep you rolling. Her and Cricket are tons of fun to boot.
  3. Becca @ Girls Gone Child - We are very different parents, but she's always making me think. And her blog is hilarious!
  4. Beth @ Total Mom Haircut - Her posts are few now that she has a toddler and baby on the way, but Beth's posts are always beautiful whether she's addressing the "Beyotch who scoffed her at Target" or laying raw emotions on the line.
  5. Jamie @ All Things Avery - Always one of the first blogs I run to in the morning- Our little one's are so close in age I've always felt quite a connection with Jamie, and her posts are good at bringing on those joyful tears.

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Wordless Wednesday - These Two... Wednesday, May 09, 2007 |


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What's Wrong With This Picture? Tuesday, May 08, 2007 |

Just a couple of things recently that have required a second look...

Exhibit A: We were downtown on Sunday to see the Dalai Lama (more on that later), afterward we decided to walk down to the Gap to buy X a couple of these. I was waiting to use the restroom outside the fitting rooms on the baby/maternity floor and noticed that one of the stalls said "Nursing Lounge" on the door. That's wonderful right? Except for the fact that the symbol they used for "nursing" was a bottle. Does that make any sense? For some reason this never fails to get me steamed. The fact that bottle feeding is so pervasive in our culture that even places created to accommodate breastfeeding use the almighty bottle as signage just doesn't sit right with me. And no, I don't expect them to put a breast on the door, but come on, get creative! This article published in Mothering magazine last summer sums up my thoughts exactly.

Exhibit B: For about the past year, I have been volunteering to organize our presence at Babies R Us monthly "Baby Fair" for a local birth and parenting network (CHOICES). CHOICES is a non-profit organization and we're at Babies R Us every month to hand out information and invite new moms and mothers-to-be to our community meetings. It's wonderful and you can always count on couple of us babywearing, breastfeeding mama's to be there chatting it up.

At last month's fair a woman introduced herself to me (and Xavier, and CHOICES director and her son) as the new coordinator of such events, she made herself available should we need anything and to my surprise asked if she could contact us in the future for help on organizing educational seminars in the store. Pleasant enough. A couple days after the fair she calls for my address saying she just needs to send out some vendor info for us to review and sign before we can participate in any future fairs. Sounds painless enough. The info arrives and I'm ready to sign- until I come to the "vendor guidlines". There's a couple bullets about arriving on time, proper attire, and then a big bold bullet that says "NO CHILDREN ARE PERMITTED AT VENDOR TABLES". Hmmm, isn't this BABIES R US? It might not be a problem, but CHOICES is an organization promoting birth and parenting (attachment parenting!) And just about everyone who has ever worked our booth at the fair has had a nursing baby slung to them. Needless to say this is sort of a deal breaker.

Hmmm, no babies aloud at Babies R Us- makes perfect sense to me.

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Bad Blogger Sunday, May 06, 2007 |

I'm on strike. Ok not really, I just haven't felt like blogging. Actually that's not it either, more likely it's that I've been feeling like I have to blog. And call me spoiled (or stubborn, or insert your own adjective here) but when I feel like I have to do something my inclination is to not do it. I'm really torn because I love blogging, I love writing. Simply stated writing is my therapy. It's cathartic. Calming. Reflective. And in so many ways I need it.

But there's the time. Hours. Hours I don't have. Hours spent in front of this screen. Hours I feel like I am stealing from my family. It takes me a good hour to write. To shuffle through my thoughts. And then when you add the time I spend reading and commenting on other blogs another hour or two has slipped by. I feel guilty, like I should be spending the time elsewhere, with David, or catching up on work, cleaning my house, anywhere but typing away.

So I've distanced myself, and while I feel like I do have more time, I miss it. I miss writing, I miss the release it brings, the clarity that comes through seeing my thoughts, emotions, and mundane happenings in print. And I miss my friends. I forget how much I communicate with even my in the flesh, local friends, via our blogs and email. And then there are the long distance friends I'm able to still feel so close to. And all of the amazing people I never would have met if it weren't for this silly little blog.

And so the verdict is that I'm throwing in the towel. On my strike. But also on my expectations. And the guilt. This is supposed to be my soft place to fall, my soap box where I can shout, my sounding board, my community. And that's what I'm reclaiming it to be.

It looks like this mama is going to roost in my nest a little while longer.

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Have some questions? She's got the answers... Friday, May 04, 2007 |

Head on over to Mama C-ta to get the answers to all those questions that have been burning your soul. Cara has laid it all out there with the wittiest list of responses to all of the NIP (nursing in public) questions we're all so tired of hearing.

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