11.30.2011

so there's that.


This morning I was trying to come up with a gameplan for today's activities. The news reported temperatures in the mid-60's and I knew we just had to do something outdoors. That's when I realized that on December 1st, one of our neighboring cities erects a 1,000 foot Christmas tree that actually houses a small exhibit inside the trunk. I thought taking Ethan to opening day at this always magical winter wonderland would be a perfect activity to go hand-in-hand with our cool weather. I dressed him in pants, a hooded sweatshirt and wool socks. I threw a sweater on myself, grabbed Ethan's hoodie and we were out the door.

It wasn't until I arrived at the site of the tree -- after a nearly half hour drive -- and saw only workers pressure cleaning the sidewalks and running around with plugs and oversized ornaments that I realized today wasn't December 1st. Okay, I'm giving myself too much credit. I stared hopelessly at the barren site with such obvious confusion that one of the city workers told me that tomorrow was December 1st. Ethan wasn't amused. I bought him a stuffed Bert from one of drugstores downtown and decided we'd just go for a downtown stroll. I'm guessing there is nothing interesting about swanky bistros and the people who frequent them when you're five months old as Ethan just wasn't having it. Following suite with the jumble of the day, he waited to have his meltdown until we were at the farthest point from where we were parked. In typical Florida fashion, the cooler temperatures excused themselves rather quickly and were replaced by nearly eighty degree weather. Our sweaters and warm clothing were as gone as Ethan's patience by the time we made it back to our car.

Yeah. Today didn't exactly go as planned. I think it took every ounce of strength I had to not join in during Ethan's afternoon nap. Here's to brighter tomorrows and the promise of that last fleeting bit of sweater weather before we're back to tank-tops and flip-flops.

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11.29.2011

birds are leaving over autumns ending


On Monday, our pediatrician rechecked Ethan and we left with my favorite holiday gift so far: a clean bill of health! Tomorrow his nebulizer treatments go down to only two per day (one morning, one evening) and he should be good to go by the weekend.

We celebrated this good news as well as the gorgeous weather by going for a walk. I had brought some bread with us and we stopped to feed the ducks and other waterbirds at this small lake near our neighborhood. It's funny to watch Ethan stare down the ducks diving for bread underneath his feet. When they begin flying and walking towards us, Ethan will kick his feet and squeal with excitement. Once they reach us, he studies them intently and barely moves until they're all gone. It's always so fun watching his reaction to certain things as he grows and learns.

With a forecast set in the 50's and 60's this week, I foresee many bundled-up (this is Florida, remember?) walks in our near future. This time of year is always so wonderful, from the ever so slight chill in the air to the peppermint white mochas to the smell of pine trees from the Christmas tree lots on the street-corners (yeah, still Florida). With a clean medical slate, all is well and all is so, so good.

11.28.2011

levana safe n'see digital video monitor review & giveaway - CLOSED


It's no secret that I'm totally overboard with my unparalleled levels of neurosis so, naturally, choosing a video monitor that I could fully trust wasn't an easy project. It was incredibly hard to find a monitor that matched every last bit of my criteria yet the Levana Safe n'See digital video monitor did just that.

Ethan is currently undergoing the transition from bassinet to crib and he's probably taking it a lot better than I am. Our house is anything but big yet the idea of him being in a different room than me makes me feel like our house is nothing short of 15,000 square feet. The Safe n'See monitor has helped make our transition way easier or at least set my mind at ease just a little bit.


As far as features go, I really like the design of the Safe n'See. The camera base mounts nicely to the crib itself by using rubber feet. It's a secure attachment that won't budge no matter how hard you push or tap on it (believe me, I've tried) and yet also doesn't have pesky adhesives that devalue and make a mess of your crib. Another plus to the rubber feet is that you're able to easily move the camera to gain different angles of the crib or even the baby's entire nursery. While playing around with it, I was happy to see that I could get the majority of Ethan's nursery into the frame! While he's sleeping in his crib, I'm able to fill the frame with solely him sleeping.

I also love the lights on the top of the handheld receiver. They light up in unison with any noise coming from baby's crib. Ethan's sighs, sneezes, even the smack of his lips in his sleep are all picked up by these lights. While the sound itself is incredible on the Safe n'See, I like the lights because no matter how loud your house is at the time, you're still able to pick up on those noises. Example being, I was baking applesauce bread a couple of weeks ago while Ethan was napping. With my mixer running and the food processor on, I may have never heard those lip smacks. The lights brought them to my attention. While on the topic of sound, it's incredible like I mentioned. I was even able to hear the rain tapping against Ethan's nursery windows on the monitor.

The monitor also has a lullaby feature which is probably Ethan's favorite feature. From the portable handheld, you're able to turn on lullabies in baby's crib and even select the song and the volume. There's also the pretty cool intercom feature. I'm able to use the handheld like a walkie-talkie and talk to Ethan to calm him down or soothe him while I'm en route to his room (or in the meantime if I'm making dinner and a complete mess). The volume of all of these things are easily controlled while using the handheld.

As for the picture itself, it's incredibly clear:
During the daytime the picture is so clear that I can actually see Ethan's little chest moving up and down or even if he's squirming his little nose in his sleep. Perfect for overly neurotic parents like myself! While we haven't tried out his crib at nighttime yet (we're getting there, I promise), I love the night vision feature on the monitor which allows for you to never have to miss a beat of watching your child on video no matter how dark it is! (I've tried it out. It's pretty cool!)

As you can see, there's also a thermometer on the Safe n'See. The portable handheld lets you know the current temperature in your baby's room and even lets you know if it gets too warm or too chilly! My only qualm with this monitor actually lays in the thermometer. My entire house was set at 74 degrees and our ceiling fans were all on (as is customary) and the portable handheld thermometer kept bouncing between 74 and 78 degrees. Regardless, it's pretty easy to control the temperature of your home and nursery and a little bit of a finicky thermometer isn't enough to sway me!

We love our Levana Safe n'See video monitor! Residents of US and Canada can enter to win one, ending December 12th, 2011.

HOW TO BUY: Visit Levana's online store to purchase the Safe n'See - $239.99.




I am so very excited that one of my readers gets an opportunity to win a Levana Safe n'See digital video monitor of their own!


MANDATORY ENTRY: Make sure your e-mail address is visible or included in your comment!
  • You MUST be a follower of You Are The Roots on GFC (Google Friend Connect) to be eligible for entry! Leave me a comment to let me know you're following via GFC.
BONUS ENTRIES: *Mandatory entry must be completed for these to count!
  • Add Levana on Facebook and leave me a comment with your name (first name, last initial) or URL so this can be verified.
  • Like You Are The Roots on Facebook and leave me a comment with your name (first name, last initial) or URL so this can be verified!
  • Follow Levana on Twitter and leave a comment with your Twitter username so this can be verified.
  • Tweet the following message (can be done once a day for one entry a day) and comment with the link to the tweet: #WIN @mylevana Digital Video Monitor US/CAN 12/12 tinyurl.com/6tgkrpl
  • Vote for me on Picket Fence Blogs (look to the left to see the buttons) - counts as one entry, can be once a day. Leave me a comment to let me know you've voted!
  • 1 Entry Per Giveaway Entered - Enter another one of my giveaways and let me know which one you've entered
  • 2 Entries - Share this giveaway on your Facebook (can be done once a day for one entry a day) and comment with the link!
  • 5 Entries - Blog about this giveaway. Comment (one comment for each entry, 5 total) with a link to where I can find your blog entry.
  • 5 Entries - Grab my button and comment (one comment for each entry, 5 total) with a link to where I can find it.
  • 5 Entries - "Like" this picture on Facebook and leave a comment with what vote number you are -- 5 entries for your "like".


AND THE WINNER IS...


Congratulations to Ashley E. You have been notified via e-mail. If no response is received within 72 hours, a second winner will be selected!

11.27.2011

bloggy babies secret santa!

We were super excited to participate in the "Bloggy Babies" Secret Santa gift exchange that Amber of Sneakers Over Stilettos was awesome enough to organize this year! Ethan and I had a lot of fun shopping for our "bloggy baby" friends but -- shh! -- we can't say who they are just yet! Our gift to them is still in transit, making it's journey just ahead of the mass amounts of holiday mail that are inevitably about to bombard mail carriers everywhere!

Ethan received his Secret Santa package in the mail and couldn't wait to open it! It did come a couple of days ago but I intervened it and kept it hidden for a little while, until he was feeling good enough to enjoy the contents! Our wonderful package came from Cat of Stuff I Love and her three little ones who so thoughtfully put together the cutest package ever for Ethan!



Thank you sooo much Cat (& kids!) for the fantastic package! Ethan loves all of his goodies and can't thank you enough for your kindness!

11.26.2011

turkey cookies


Okay, making these "hand turkey" sugar cookies was one of the pre-Thanksgiving activities I had planned before Ethan became ill. Seeing as how he's been feeling so much better, I decided that belated hand turkey cookies were just as much fun as prompt hand turkey cookies.

A family friend of ours (shout-out to Miss Shirley!) had sent us a gift certificate to Chinaberry when Ethan was born. After careful deliberation, I had a cookie cutter made of Ethan's handprint! I knew right off the bat I just had to make hand turkey cookies with Ethan for Thanksgiving and, as long as I let him play with the spaghetti scooper, Ethan was up for the task!


So, our hand turkey cookies came a bit late but Ethan is pretty much the cutest culinary assistant on the planet and that has to excuse our tardiness, right?

11.25.2011

thanksgiving


Yesterday was Ethan's first Thanksgiving. At the very last minute, I decided I could try to round up some holiday cheer and put together a Thanksgiving dinner even if I was only feeding my husband and myself. I couldn't have done it without my mother who dropped us off a boneless turkey breast from The Fresh Market and those great folks at Cascadian Farms for their frozen organic vegetables. Yeah, it wasn't a really authentic Thanksgiving dinner. I botched the mashed potatoes twice which were the only attempts my patience would allow so I just decided on baked potatoes and called it a day. My heart was only about 15% into cooking this year to start with but I'll redeem my kitchen credentials on Christmas. (We're hosting Christmas Eve this year. Have I mentioned how nervous I am?!)

The steroids Ethan is on for his lungs are actually helping pretty quickly. He was so full of life and happiness and laughter which filled my heart with enough gratitude to get through my half-assed Thanksgiving dinner. Earlier in the day, I'd made my husband a gluten-free pumpkin pie by whipping up a ginger snap crust. Ethan was way into attempting to get to the pie. Next year, Ethan. Next year.


After dinner, we took Ethan for a walk on the beach. There's something about the salty ocean air that is good at healing you physically and also lifting your spirits. The ocean mist is definitely the greatest decongestant.

This year -- despite the yucky black cloud of RSV hanging above our heads -- I'm thankful for so much. I'm thankful for my husband and the opportunity to have had grown up alongside him. I'm thankful for my beautiful, amazing son who completely lights up my life every minute of every day. I'm thankful for my wonderful family, for their unconditional love and gigantic hearts. I'm thankful for my four rambunctious, silly, ridiculously adorable cats and the laughter they bring to our lives. I'm thankful to be living in South Florida and the beautiful beach and nature we're exposed to on the regular. I'm thankful for our doctors who have done their all in ensuring Ethan is on the way to recovery. I'm thankful for my friends both near and far. I'm thankful for so much this year and always and, really, I'm thankful that Ethan's first Thanksgiving was still filled with laughter, love, family and happiness.

11.24.2011

he switches to a minor key, but the memory won't fade away


As with all of the holidays, I had big plans for Ethan's first Thanksgiving. The crafts, the activities, the silly turkey outfits and the photo opportunities they provide -- we were ready for it all! Then he got sick.

As the days have gone on, both Ethan's treatment and illness have become more intricate. On Wednesday morning, he was diagnosed with RSV. While this had been our doctor's hunch as his symptoms continued to come forward, it still makes my heart uneasy to know the name of the virus that has been wreaking so much havoc on my son's tiny body. RSV has been spreading like wildfire throughout our county and when I hear it mentioned on the news -- those three ominous letters -- I feel like I'm being punched in the stomach.

Ethan began steroids for his lungs yesterday and we're continuing his breathing treatments every four hours. He watches me open the albuterol packets and begins whimpering apprehensively. I feel like the cruelest person in the world when that happens. The nebulizer isn't his friend, even with the adorable dinosaur mask that our pediatrician gave him yesterday morning. There's something about the sad way he looks up at you with those big eyes, whimpering with misery as the breathing treatment hums on. It's heartbreaking. This afternoon, he went down for a nap and I stood in the bathroom and cried. It's been exhausting, it's been stressful, it's simply been heartbreaking these past few days.

It's been a far cry from the Thanksgiving holiday that I anticipated and planned for.

During those stressful moments when you're worried about proper hydration and your child has just vomited up the contents of his belly and you're listening to the rattling wheeze that comes from his chest and lungs with every breath, it's hard to say you're thankful for much.

And then the alarm goes off at 3:00 a.m. because Ethan is due for a breathing treatment and I lean over, kiss his forehead and know that I have everything in the world to be thankful for. He is mine and he is here and thus I have everything in the world.

11.23.2011

Yoomi Self-Warming Bottle Review


Yoomi couldn't have possibly sent us their self-warming bottle to review at a better time. Since he's been sick, Ethan's appetite isn't what it normally is. Throw in the fact that having his milk warm is the only way he'll really eat, and it's been kind of a hassle. I warm his bottles but they cool before he's had the time to finish and then he decides he doesn't want to finish the cool milk. It didn't feel like such a hassle until the day I took him to the pediatrician and had no way to warm his milk to fill his belly before we drove home. (Oh. Wait. That was only yesterday? It feels like it was a month ago at least.) Yoomi's Self-Warming bottle sounded like a miracle. When I eyed the box in my kitchen, I swear I heard angels singing and bells chiming.

It's pretty cool the way the Yoomi (BPA free!) bottle works. There's a heater that you activate by setting it in rapidly boiling water for just shy of a half an hour. After it sits to cool, you place it into the lid of the bottle and push the button. After sixty seconds, the milk is warmed just so. The milk stored in the nipple area heats as it pools around the heater and baby is content with a belly full of warm milk. It's as easy and awesome as it sounds. Ethan woke up from a nap this afternoon hungry and all I did was push the button on the heater and watch as the milk warmed on it's way into his mouth.

Ethan doesn't use wide-mouth nipples so I was a bit concerned on how he'd take to it. I was happy to learn it was a medium-flow nipple which works perfectly for us (the Gelmix thickener that Ethan needs due to reflux requires a medium-flow nipple due to the thickness). We've tried many wide-mouth nipples before and they all seem to collapse or are just flimsy and hard for Ethan to latch onto properly. The nipple on the Yoomi bottle didn't collapse or bend or make it hard for Ethan to transition. This (anti-colic!) nipple is made so well. Ethan had no trouble latching on and finished the entire bottle of milk without the nipple even faltering. I was totally impressed. (For those who don't have to worry about thickeners, Yoomi comes in slow, medium and fast flow nipples...all of which are BPA-free and contain six anti-colic chambers!)

I like how mobile and easy the Yoomi bottle is. It can be recharged approximately 100 times by placing the heater into boiling water. That's all. Sterilizing and charging can be done in the same, simple step. No worries about fussing with batteries or plugs or cords. It's one of those products that suddenly makes your life a little bit easier and you wonder why you haven't had one all along.

Even when Ethan has recovered, we're excited to have our Yoomi bottle as part of our daily feeding regimen. The quality of the bottle is impeccable and I especially love that it was created by parents (whose own children gave it the stamp of approval!). Parents know best and the Yoomi is just another piece of proof to support that notion!

HOW TO BUY: Buy Yoomi Online!

WIN YOOMI'S $500 GIFT BASKET: Yoomi is currently running a great contest on their Facebook page. You just have to nominate your favorite mom-to-be for the chance to shower her with Yoomi's $500 gift basket filled with bottles, warmers and other baby essentials! To enter, visit Yoomi's Facebook page here!

11.22.2011

well, no one else is gonna love you like i do


Ethan is five months old today. He's also still so very sick and our lives lately have been as crazy as his hair. (By the way, excuse that maniacal mane of his. By ten this morning, he'd already had two streams of vomit wind up in his hair, followed by consecutive hair washings. It's not a good day for beauty and proper grooming skills in this house.)

He weighed in on Monday at nearly 18 pounds and is still in his size 6-9 month clothes but starting to trickle into his 9 month wardrobe as well. We have one more month until he starts solids and he's doing great at making the (albeit slow as molasses -- my fault, I fully admit) transition to his crib. He's starting to really love playing with toys and I mean that in the sense that he isn't just clanging, shaking or sucking on toys, he's getting really into actually playing with toys. He loves his Exersaucer and is doing a fabulous job at figuring out how to utilize all of the features.

However, five months is full of congestion and runny noses and -- god help me -- the nebulizer. He's started to recognize the sight of the albuterol packets that go into the nebulizer and begins screaming accordingly. Having to hold the mask to his nose and try to calm him as he wails in unmatched hysteria has been one of the greatest challenges I've faced in some time. It's heartbreaking. He's managed to learn how to pull the plug out of the nebulizer and by the time his breathing treatments are done, I'm both exhausted from the struggle and covered in the result of Ethan's hysteria and protest (see also: vomit -- and lots of it).

It was a rough "month birthday" for Ethan today, but we finished it off snuggling and slow dancing to Taylor Swift in our living room. I wish I could blink my eyes and make him all better and send off the nebulizer to a land where it's never to be seen again but I can't, so I'll just hang onto hope and optimism and love. It's been five wonderful months and even as I trek to Target for more Boogie Wipes with vomit dried down the back of my neck, I couldn't possibly feel luckier.

11.20.2011

first, where i've been.


This has been a week of firsts. Ethan's first time using a sippy cup, the first wedding I've shot since I had Ethan, the first time my husband and I took Ethan to my family's lake home and...(here is when it all starts going downhill fast)...Ethan's first cold. Which, consequently, happened at the same time as my first cold in over a year (and my husband's as well, go figure). It also consequently happened to be one monster of a cold.

It's been an exhausting few days of nasal aspirators and sore throats and stuffy noses and cold rub and keeping hydrated and humidifiers and thermometers and steamy bathrooms and chest congestion and puddles of baby vomit (that as some unspoken rule can seemingly only happen after midnight) and saline mist and saline wipes and sleep deprivation and worrying. Oh, the worrying. My pediatrician's office is probably pretty sorry they have an after-hours telephone line right about now.

As we drove home from the lake house this afternoon, we also got the sheer joy of experiencing Ethan's first "diaper explosion." (Told you it was a week of firsts.) I'll spare you a description of the aftermath but let's just say that nothing in the backseat of the car (including myself) was spared. There were messes in places I can't even fathom but eventually we made it home, just in time to give Ethan a warm bath and swaddle him up for bedtime.

Sunday is coming to a close and I am hanging all of my hope on the notion that this is a healthy house come tomorrow, in time for the start to a fresh, new week. I'd cross my fingers, but I just can't seem to find the energy.

11.16.2011

gelmix all-natural breastmilk & formula thickener giveaway - 5 will win!



Ethan and I are both so excited to make this post! If you've been a reader of mine for a while, you've most likely read my Gelmix praises (here and here, respectively). It's been the greatest honor in the world to work with Gelmix and the icing on the proverbial cake is that they're hosting this fantastic giveaway for my readers! Five readers will have the chance to win a 4.4 ounce jar of Gelmix (a $20 value)!

As I've mentioned in the past, Ethan has been on Gelmix since he was one month and five days old. Ethan was one of the estimated 50% of babies who suffer from reflux. As a parent, you feel helpless watching your child vomit up every last drop that goes in his mouth. Watching him squirm in discomfort and pain while eating isn't any better. ...And don't get me started on the choking. I was keeping an aspirator in nearly every room in our home in case I needed quick access. Reflux is a scary thing and a serious thing. When I began researching, I read that there weren't many options out there aside from calorie-heavy, nutritionally-lacking rice cereal and prescription medication. Ethan was so tiny and it pained me to think about medicating him or filling his bottle up with unnecessary calories. Thankfully, our pediatrician was on our same page. She mentioned Gelmix and sent us home with some samples. The results were instant. Since that first bottle, no one would believe that Ethan has reflux. With his bottles naturally thickened, he's able to eat comfortably, keep his food down and grow like any baby should.

So how does it work? What really is Gelmix? What makes it so special?
  • It is mainly derived from the powder obtain from the grinding of the Carob bean seed endosperm also called Carob Bean Gum.
  • Although ready-to-feed options exist, they do not offer you the ability to use your current infant’s formula, including but not limited to hypoallergenic, semi-hypoallergenic, soy or lactose-free.
  • Gelmix dissolves almost completely in warm liquids, absorbing surrounding humidity like a sponge, effectively thickening the preparation.
  • Gelmix allows you to thicken your own breastmilk at home without loading your perfectly balanced milk with unhealthy fillers. Gelmix will not be broken down by enzymes contained in breast milk.
  • Rice cereal takes the place of the formula and of the nutrients your baby needs. They feel full faster, eat less of the good things and might even struggle to digest such a large amount. Gelmix adds so little that your baby can enjoy more of what is important to her.

Every mom wants to provide the best for their little ones and Gelmix allows that to happen. An organic, all-natural option is available for babies suffering from reflux and here's your chance to win a jar to try! This giveaway is open to US residents and closes on November 30th, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Have a little one with reflux? Know someone who does? Gelmix is the answer to all of our wishes as parents to a little one with reflux -- and it warms my heart to know that five of my readers will have the chance to win this life changing product!





Gelmix is offering FIVE of my readers a chance to win a 4.4 ounce jar of Gelmix thickener, a $20 value!


MANDATORY ENTRY: Make sure your e-mail address is visible or included in your comment!
  • You MUST be a follower of You Are The Roots on GFC (Google Friend Connect) to be eligible for entry!
  • Like Gelmix on Facebook and leave me a comment with your name (first name, last initial) or URL so this can be verified!
BONUS ENTRIES: *Mandatory entry must be completed for these to count!
  • Visit Gelmix online and let me know something you've learned or something that most interests you about Gelmix.
  • Like You Are The Roots on Facebook and leave me a comment with your name (first name, last initial) or URL so this can be verified!
  • Leave Gelmix a Facebook wall post and let them know you've entered the giveaway at You Are The Roots!
  • Tweet the following message (can be done once a day for one entry a day) and comment with the link to the tweet: #WIN Gelmix All-Natural Breastmilk and Formula Thickener 11/30 US tinyurl.com/7eb6d76
  • Vote for me on Picket Fence Blogs (look to the left to see the buttons) - counts as one entry, can be once a day. Leave me a comment to let me know you've voted!
  • Enter another one of my giveaways and let me know which one you've entered
  • 2 Entries - Share this giveaway on your Facebook (can be done once a day for one entry a day) and comment with the link!
  • 5 Entries - Register with Gelmix (& also receive free samples!) and leave a comment with your first name, last initial so this can be verified! Use code Thanksgiving Promo 2011 as referral
  • 5 Entries - Blog about this giveaway. Comment (one comment for each entry, 3 total) with a link to where I can find your blog entry.
  • 5 Entries - Grab my button and comment (one comment for each entry, 2 total) with a link to where I can find it.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS:

Danielle L.

Ashley E.

Dana

Francine

Danielle S.
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