Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Swanson Health

I'm really excited to do my first sponsored product review! I'm about to place my order for $25 worth of Swanson Health products to try and review right here on an owl's nest! It took me quite a while to pin down the exact products that I wanted. Hopefully they won't take too long to arrive and it won't take me too long to get in a good trial run with each product. I'm already impressed by the prices Swanson offers for some products that we already use. Yay Swanson!

nutritional supplements
Have a blog? Want to win a $100? Check out the Swanson Health Blog.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

wood rocks!

Last week I decided to devote some of my birthday money to a gift for Olive. I searched on Etsy for a wooden rattle for Olive as she doesn't really have a decent rattle and I really love wooden toys of which she has none. I stumbled upon a few shops and became more and more excited by the wooden things that Olive could someday enjoy. I soon knew I was going to spend more money than I initially intended - whoops!

I settled upon a package from Wood Rocks Toys because, of course, with a package you get more for your money! Coincidentally they recently had a baby girl as well and in honor of her birth had a few wonderful packages to offer. The folks at Wood Rocks have wonderful costumer service and were incredibly kind and flexible. I came up with the most perfect little package for my tiny little Olive and I eagerly awaited it's arrival.

Yesterday I received the package from Wood Rocks Toys.

I opened it!

Two cherry teethers. A heart and a pendant.

The rattle! Cherry, maple, and walnut.

Three vehicles. Cherry car, train, and helicopter. I'm so excited about the helicopter!

Olive can't play with any of these things yet but I'm pretty sure she'll enjoy them - I do! The quality seems great - the price was perfect - and they even came with a little instruction card. I high recommend Wood Rocks Toys!

*post is my own honest opinion, was not commissioned by Wood Rocks Toys*

Monday, March 28, 2011

a fresh start!

Welcome to my new and improving blog. Yes, I meant to include the "ing" and not use "ed". I started this switch over to a new address, using a new template, and adding a few features just this morning so the process is by no means complete.

I hope that this blog will see increased traffic and subscriptions due to an increase in interesting and useful posts by me. Posts about being a mom, family, home & garden, health & wellness, photography, product reviews, giveaways, and more!

I hope that you'll take the time to look around and come back if you get a chance. I would especially appreciate it if you would subscribe. :) There is a convenient button over to the right.. Just click on Sign Me Up!

And check out my Amazon shop - click on the tab at the top called "from my nest to yours". If you buy products from my shop I'll make a little $$. Yay!

Hope to see you around! :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

sleep sheep.

unsure about the sleep sheep

Don't mind Olive looking incredibly unsure about her Sleep Sheep. I actually have good things to say!

I was expecting to dislike the Sleep Sheep given to us by my mom at Christmas. I hadn't had a baby yet and wasn't really wanting anything battery operated. I still don't know much about having a baby and I still don't prefer battery operated baby paraphernalia but in all honesty the Sleep Sheep has been incredibly useful.

Olive is a fan of "white noise". She calms more quickly when we say "shh shh" and she calms more quickly when the Sleep Sheep is on. I use it most nights when she's just eaten and I want her to get to bed quickly so I can get to bed quickly, too. We occasionally use it if she takes a nap in her crib or I need to leave her for a bit while I get dressed or something of that sort.

The Sleep Sheep is a stuffed animal with a tiny speaker inside. There are four sound settings (heartbeat, rain, ocean, and whale), a volume knob, and a timer. I typically have it set on rain (heartbeat and whale kind of bother me) for 23 minutes. Occasionally Olive suddenly wakes when the sound stops. Whoops! It also has a Velcro loop on the back to fix it to the crib or whatever convenient hanging location you choose and it takes 2 AA batteries.

Thanks mom! :)

Sleep Sheep is made by Cloud B and you can learn more here.

As a gift we were given another Cloud B product - a ladybug that projects stars onto the walls and ceiling at night! We have yet to use that with Olive but Tyler and I are pretty amused by it! :)

You can purchase a Sleep Sheep from me via my Amazon shop. Just click here!!

*This post is my personal opinion based on my own experiences and was not commissioned by Cloud B*

elimination communication.

I was going to wait a while before posting about Elimination Communication (EC) as I wanted to learn more before simply reciting little bits of what I've read on the internet. BUT.. we tried it today and were already successful so I feel the need to share.

Anyone that has come to visit and seen Olive and I for any length of time has probably heard me comment on her readiness to potty train (totally a joke) because she would typically go multiple times while having her diaper changed. It seemed as though she would take the cue of her diaper being off and enjoyed the feeling more of going without her diaper. In joking about her readiness to potty train a few times the idea became less of a joke to me and more of a "what if?!"

I didn't explore the idea any further until a couple of days ago when I stumbled upon one of the many mom blog out there in internet land. It's easy to get lost amongst the stay at home mommies blogging about their diaper woes, crafty ideas, and recipes. While it's easy to get lost and over (and sometimes inaccurately) informed I have found many diamonds in the rough. I stumbled upon Emily at Joyful Abode when looking for some gDiaper washing tips. Her short bio interested me as she's a breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering new mommy (much like myself) but with a few months of a head start and a much better blog! I don't recall how exactly but I got to a post about EC and was so pleased with the little that I read. Her 7 month old uses the potty... sometimes. Wow!

And shouldn't it be that way? Why do we have two and three year old kids sitting in their yucky diapers? And maybe that's necessary sometimes but it really does seem logical and natural to me to address the act of elimination immediately with a baby and work on communication in that area and encourage them to use the toilet as soon as possible. That means less diaper rash, less dirty diapers to buy or wash, and being more in tune with your little one. Why wouldn't I want to try that? Especially considering my thoughts of the past month or so on Olive's elimination habits.

Today I tried it. Babies often go while or after breastfeeding and after waking up from a nap. After she ate a couple of hours ago she dozed off. Upon waking I checked her diaper, after I grabbed a little bowl from the kitchen (her baby toilet!), and it was already wet and dirty. She did go again while I was changing her though and I made a "pssssst" sound and commented that she was going potty. Soon she fell asleep again in my arms for a short bit. Immediately after waking I took her upstairs and her diaper was still dry. I commented on her dry diaper and how nice it feels. She then went potty a little bit so I held her over the bowl but the sudden movement caused her to stop. I told her it was okay. Again she started and I picked her up over the bowl and she went for quite a while! I set her back down and told her that she went potty in the toilet and I was going to put her diaper that was still nice and dry back on and that she did a good job.

To some this may sound silly... she's 5 weeks old (today!) but I'm really interested in this topic especially because it's actually a method and I was already trying to put the pieces together of how to go about this myself. If you're interested in learning more visit Diaper Free Baby.

Also, in the internet world of mommies I am:
A brand new, exclusively breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, (now) ECing, and future baby food making, momma.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

olive's birth announcement!

I finally finished making a birth announcement for Olive! I was going to make one on my own and print them with my wonderful photo printer but I just wasn't getting it done. After a trip to a store that gave me a coupon code for Shutterfly I thought why not just get it done. It won't be as unique but it will be done and which matters more?! I was playing around with Shutterfly for the past week and I was having a rough time with the photos we had of her (her eyes were closed, they didn't match, etc.). After our little photo shoot today it all came together! Look for one coming to you in the mail soon! :)

Initially Girl Baby Announcements
Create beautiful birth announcements with Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

nearly 5 weeks.

There are some straight out of the camera shots of Olive from today. Someday I may get around to editing them. Enjoy!


Have a baby you'd like me to photograph? Let me know.. I'd love to add more than just Olive to my portfolio!

homemade detergent.

Have I told you how much I love the homemade detergent that I made? (what a silly use of the word 'love')

I received the recipe from a coworker who also received it from a coworker. I was putting off making in for a while as I had other, store bought, detergent to use up. I made a batch shortly before Olive arrived and haven't thought to post about it since. I also wanted to make sure it didn't irritate her skin and that it worked well with her cloth diapers before raving about it. :) Well.. after numerous loads of laundry I can tell you that the soap does not irritate Olive and her cloth diapers seem so clean and white! It's also incredibly inexpensive.

Here's what you'll need:
~ A bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap (either in the laundry isle or bar soap isle of your grocery store) (there are a few other brands out there, too, I just choose this one)
~ Box of Borax
~ Box of Washing Soda (looks like Arm & Hammer Baking Soda but the box is bigger and it says 'Washing')
~ A large pot

Melt 1/3 of the Fels-Naptha bar in 10 cups of boiling water. You can shave the bar into small pieces to help it melt more quickly.

Once melted turn off the heat, add 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Washing Soda, and mix. Once mixed pour in a gallon of hot water and continue to stir.

Pour into two gallon containers, keep it in the pot, or put it in whatever works best for you. Some of the detergent will stay liquid and some will turn into a gel.

Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry. (I use less for Olive's clothing and diapers)

I use this in a high efficiency machine and it doesn't seem to be a problem. The first time I made this it gelled pretty thick so I squished it with my hand after putting it in the soap compartment as I found some large chunks still sitting in there after completing a load of laundry. This shouldn't be a problem with machines in which you add the detergent directly to the laundry.

Honestly I have never felt our clothes being quite so soft after using this detergent and the whites seem to come out extremely bright. It also has very little fragrance - the Fels-Naptha bar is scented but you're using only 1/3 of the bar per about 2 gallons of water so the fragrance is very diluted.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

"good" morning?

I just entered a contest. You can enter too, right here.

If you're interested read the entire post before scrolling down to the contest rules. It brings up some good points, none of which I'm incredibly good at currently since my mornings still seem so new and different. I love the author's second point - to shower and get dressed ASAP. Olive doesn't really let me do that right now but I have high hopes. :)


I think it's been a few days since my last post - I apologize. And this one isn't going to be anything amazing - I apologize again.

I had been quite busy cleaning up the giant pile of things that my dad brought over the past week or so but that suddenly, and unfortunately, came to a halt when I went downstairs to wash Olive's diapers on Tuesday morning and I noticed a somewhat significant amount of water on the floor. A leak! And then I found another leak! And then another! Basically we have what seems like an underground spring under the stairs where, previously unknown to us, there is no floor. In addition to that little pond we have a few foundation leaks that we were already aware of from large spring rain storms but we have never seen them flowing quite like this! So Tuesday was spent dividing my time between Olive and the basement. Thankfully a friend from work came over to hold Olive for a while so I wouldn't feel like I was abandoning her all day. She also brought with her cookies and chocolate milk. Thanks Amanda! :)

The basement drama continued into Wednesday which made my day equally as hectic. Thankfully Brooke & Scott came over with dinner ingredients and made a yummy meal while we waited for Tyler get home from work.

On Thursday Olive and I woke up early and got ready to take Tyler to work as we had an appointment to get the Camshaft Position Sensor replaced on the car. While waiting for that we sat at Cupcake, across the street from Fraser, and Laura, Jayme, and Ann came to visit me & Olive. We saw Meredith on our way to pick up the car. We also made a quick stop at the post office. We survived our first day out alone! Thank you Olive for being asleep most of the time, not being hungry, and not needing to be changed. :)

Tyler has unfortunately had a hectic week as well. In addition to manning the basement when he got home from work his work duties involved snow removal (hopefully the last time of the season - fingers crossed!) and things involved with having America's Got Talent filming at the Orpheum. He was not enthusiastic about that. And it kept him at work late.

Olive news: She smiled twice on Thursday morning! Prior to that we had only seen smiles in her sleep.

So now it's the weekend (Friday, Friday, gettin' down on Friday...) where we will hopefully find some sleep, less water, and some time to get a few things done. Some of my priorities for the next few days are to buy a new vacuum, list some things on etsy, and continue to clean up the living room and dinning room. Exciting, eh?! ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

olive's first walk.

Yesterday we took a walk with Olive and Honey as it was so so nice outside (and I was itching to get out!). By "so so nice" I mean 52 degrees. It was great to get out and see a few houses that have been getting worked on in the neighborhood. Most of the sidewalks were pretty clean of snow but a few still had lumps and bumps that I had to push Olive over. Lots of intersections were still difficult to navigate. But Olive, the stroller, and I did fine. :)


photo catch up.

Photos from the past two weeks - around the house and with Tyler's family:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

frost on flower.

(It's hard to type while holding Olive) will unfortunately be down for the next two months. I was unhappy with my host and their outrageous renewal fee. I have to wait 60 days to get my domain again. So.. I'm not out of business.. I'll just be relaunching.. bigger and better!

two things.

There are two significant things about the photo below.
Can you guess?


#1 Olive's outfit

Background: My dad was here this past weekend to visit and meet Olive. He also brought with him everything left at his house that belongs to me. It basically looked like we just moved in. He packed his SUV to the brim - seriously. He honestly couldn't fit in another thing. Unfortunately this has not come at a convenient time, as you may have been able to guess. It's quite the daunting task and while I shouldn't be tackling the pile of treasures (and trash!) quite so hard... I am. Clutter seriously stresses me out and this is clutter to the max.

I have found things to keep, things to recycle, things to throw away, things to freecycle, things to donate, things to sell on etsy, etc. I have also found many things for Olive! I'm trying to be good and keeping only the most useful items and most important and memorable things from my childhood. In addition to piles of stuffed animals and dolls there are piles and piles of clothing!

That brings us to this morning. I took that photo this morning shortly after waking up with Olive. Olive is wearing my dress! Isn't that neat? Though it didn't last long.. it was a little too dressy for my taste and she didn't have anything decent to wear on her legs.

#2 Olive has a pacifier in her mouth.

She made it to shortly before being one month old before entering into the world of pacifier. I was attempting to avoid it or at least put it off for a while so as not to interfere with breastfeeding but last night.. oh last night.. She was suddenly wide awake as Tyler and I had watering tired blurry eyes and were dreaming of our bed. Her wide awake state was coupled with bouts of intense fussiness. She was swaddled. We were holding her. We were rocking her. We were walking with her. And none of it was quite good enough. Tyler got into bed and it started again. I was at a loss and reluctantly asked if I should try the pacifier. I went to her room, grabbed one, and popped it in. It didn't take long for her to calm down. Her blinking became labored. She drifted off to sleep and had no qualms with being set into her bassinet and tightly tucked in. It took me a while to fall asleep because of the silly sucking and squeaking sounds she was making.

The pacifier popped in and out of her mouth throughout the night. Luckily it didn't seem to bother her much when it fell out. She slept decently and only woke up twice for diaper changes and feedings (much better than the 3-4 times during previous nights).

I gave her the pacifier this morning, when this photo was taken, so I could run to the bathroom to "get ready" for the day without too much fussing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

big day.

burrito baby bug.

At least my birthday was a big day for Olive. She lost her umbilical cord stump while taking a bath. She also took a bottle for the first time rather successfully. Last night we had a bottle waiting so Tyler could feed her and I could stay 'sleeping'. Oh it was lovely.

My dad came into town yesterday afternoon. It looks like we have a roommate - he brought nearly every single thing left in his house that belongs to me.. and more! oh dear!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

happy (?) birthday

Olive, Honey, and I are celebrating my birthday. We're also mourning the loss of our best friend Tyler who had to return to work today. In celebration of my birth I'm currently making myself a big mug of hot cocoa. I'm also washing towels. Happy birthday?

*update* Olive got a gift in the mail today. I didn't get any gifts in the mail today. I didn't even get a card in the mail today. It's official! It's all about Olive! :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm going to run out of space if I keep posting photos.

But she's so cute.

And these aren't even the "nice" photos.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

round two!

Our second round of visitors came and left. Tyler's parents, brother, and sister came up for a couple of days to meet Olive, cook us some food, and help us out with a few chores. I think they liked Olive and Olive liked them. :) Honey continues to be pretty stressed about all of the visitors but she's getting better.

Olive seems to be getting into more of a sleep eat schedule but I know as soon as we really get it down she'll be sleeping less and things will be changing!

She had her least traumatic bath yet tonight. Her first few were in the little pink bucket we got from the hospital set in the bathroom sink with me holding onto her and Tyler washing her. She seemed to despise the entire thing. Tonight I got out her infant to toddler tub and put it in the bathtub and she seemed pretty content! Now she's sleeping (thankfully! I had some coffee shortly before feeding her!) and we're about to eat some yummy enchiladas that my friend Emily brought over with her fiance.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

getting my figure back.


I started this pregnancy underweight so I'm in no hurry to get back down that low. I believe at my first appointment I weighed in at a whopping 113 lbs. At my last midwife appointment, two days before Olive was born, I think I weighed 161 lbs. So factoring in those two days I'm just going to say I gained an even 50 lbs. To me that seems absurd - however every midwife and nurse that I mentioned it to said it was just fine, especially since I started out underweight, and they told me silly things like "oh, you look so great." But that wasn't my point. I somehow managed to gain weight mainly in my belly and I didn't think that I looked terrible I was just shocked by gaining 50 lbs and not actually looking like it.

We checked my weight when we got home from the hospital and I was down to 153, I think. It would have been neat to be weighed at the hospital immediately after Olive's birth. (Mental note for next baby..) For the first week or so I was losing multiple pounds a day - it was the weirdest thing that I've ever experienced! Currently I weight myself a few times a day mostly for amusement purposes. I wake up a little bit lighter every day but go up midday and usually back down before bed, but not as low as the morning. This pattern, or one very similar to it, happens every day but with the starting and ending weights typically a hair lower than the previous day. So I'm thinking that I've just leveled out at about 140 lbs.

My "medically recommended" weight is 125- 164 lbs. To fit comfortably into my most favorite soft, torn, wonderful, skinny jeans I need to slim down slightly. I think I'll shoot for 130 or a little lower but I have a feeling this will be up to me and this amazing rapid weight loss thing is over. Starting tomorrow I'm allowed to do crunches but we'll see if that happens. As soon as the weather warms up and the snow melts a bit Olive, Honey, and I will be taking frequent walks. And Tyler and I plan to take up swimming at a local community center using our tax refund.

That reminds me! I have to finish our taxes. I started pre-Olive... I can't forget. Especially because we're getting an amaaaaazing refund this year. :) I think mostly we're putting it away to continue our savings for paying my dad back for some down payment help but I think we're getting memberships for that community center and maybe a special music thing for Tyler and a special photography thing for me. Hey, tangent. In conclusion, I'm losing weight because I had a baby. A baby waby.

The end.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

appointment #2

As I said previously we were unhappy with our first pediatrician. For some reason they wanted us to come back for a second appointment this week. It sounds like typically newborns are seen for a newborn visit and then monthly for a few months, not weekly, unless something is wrong, and thankfully nothing is wrong with our little Olive. So in deciding to find a new pediatrician we weren't sure if we should schedule something this week or wait a month or what. We decided we'd go ahead with trying to new ped this week because we were certain we could find more questions, which we did. We talked it over with the nurse and think we figured out a way to go about the appointments to make it work out in terms of billing. But I'm still a little stuck on why we were scheduled for a second appointment at the first place without telling us why. In looking at their appointment schedule online they say newborn, one month, two month, etc. Hmm.

At today's appointment we learned that Olive now weighs 6 lbs 14 oz - she's gained nearly a pound since we left the hospital! And she is now 20 1/4 inches. Yay Olive!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

olive and her nini

My mom and my stepdad have been in town since Thursday. My mom has been cooking meals for us as well as freezing some and my stepdad built a shelving unit in our kitchen in an odd spot that we had as well as other very helpful things. They've already gone back to their hotel for the night and we're heating up some Hungarian goulash that my mom made. yum! We're very thankful for their help but also happy that the trip is coming to an end so we can have some family time alone before Tyler's family arrives and before he heads back to work - we still have a lot of learning to do!

Here are some photos that I took of my mom and Olive today. After months of deliberation my mom has settled on the name NiNi as her grandma name.


first ped appointment

After Tyler rushed out to get our nearly flat tire fixed, Olive had her first pediatrician appointment on her due date, Feb 25th, at Partners in Pediatrics in St. Louis Park. She already gained 3 oz since we left the hospital. She weighed in at 6 lbs 3 oz and was 20 inches long. We were unfortunately not as happy as we would have hoped with PIP. The office was really nice - it's brand new. But we didn't get the attention we wanted and didn't necessarily like all of the answers we were given. So for her next appointment we're going to try Central Pediatrics in St. Paul.