Someone snatched my boy. Someone took my sweet cuddly, laughable, smiling ball of sunshine and replaced him with a a loud, shrilling screamer. I thought I we were in the clear since we avoided the dreaded colic, blessed with only few crying nights, and had a son that seemed to have a sunny disposition. That was until, about three days ago. Lord help us.

Parker had found his voice around three and a half months ago and had always been a very vocal baby. He loved to bababaaabbaa and OoooWoooowwhhoo from very early on. I knew right then and there that he would be an extrovert who loved to talk, just like his Daddy. That is all cute and sweet and everything, but that is not what we have going on here. We have a seven month old who only loves to communicate in one way…a loud shrilling screech of a SCREAM!

I’m bored…SCREAM!
Pick me up…SCREAM!
I rolled over and I’m proud of it…SCREAM!
Mommy is making a funny face…SCREAM!
I’m tired…SCREAM!
Look I just crawled backwards…SCREAM!
No, I want to feed myself…SCREAM!
I said, give me that spoon!…SCREAM!
I don’t want to be in the stroller anymore…SCREAM!
Stop tickling me…SCREAM!
Did I mention that I want you to hold me?…SCREAM!

Is this a phase? I certainly hope so! At the end of the night, with a splitting headache, I close my eyes and pray. Dear Lord, whatever I did to upset you…I’m sorry. Please give me back my non-screaming baby and I promise to be forever thankful. AMEN!

Bits of randomness…

~It’s crazy that in the life of a stay at home Mom that I continue to stay so busy week after week. Between play dates, house cleaning and grocery shopping, it seems that I find myself wondering how the day got away from me so quickly. Then, before I know it…the week is over.
~Parker turned seven months last week. I can’t believe that we’re actually closer to a one year old than a newborn now. It’s bitter sweet for sure. So, what does a seven month do you ask? Teething… yep. It’s starting with his bottom right side. So far it hasn’t been too bad. He’s woken up a few times at night grabbing at his mouth and fussing. Tylenol did the trick. He’s also starting to crawl. Yay! Not forward though. He’s pushing himself backwards and clockwise. I left him on the blanket near the coffee table, and while I ate breakfast, he worked himself all the way over towards the fireplace! He was giggling and babbling the entire way.  When I took his picture, he looked up in with a smile, proud of his accomplishment.  Let the fun begin!

~ Earlier this week we went to visit Aunt Marie.  It was nice to drive up to Marietta to visit.  In the past, that has always been difficult because Parker always had three or more naps that he needed to be home for, but now that he’s only taking two, things have been a little easier when it comes to venturing out.  Parker had a blast.  My cousin Lewie was playing with him and trying to teach him how to crawl.  The dogs Wolfie and Thor could not get enough of him, smothering him with kisses and love.  Of course Marie got her fair share of hugs and kisses too.  Parker absolutely LOVED all of the attention.

~So, Dan told me I need to watch Food, Inc. which aired on PBS last week.  My sis in law wrote about it here last year.  I’ve kind of lived by the thought when it came to this kind of stuff  that “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”.  That was until I watched this.  Um…Yuck.  I almost want to become a vegetarian.  Watching images of people chainsawing cows in half that that stand knee high in manure, then moments later it is ground into hamburger meat, was enough to make me want to loose my lunch.  It wasn’t just beef though Nooooo my friend.  It was SO much more than that.  There are so many genetically engineered foods out there, in order to produce a product quicker, larger, and one that last longer. They are pumping hormones and antibiotics into chicken, beef, and other meats.  This my friend is not only wrong…it’s gross.  I know you don’t want to know…but you should.  If you haven’t already, you should definitely watch it.  It’s mind blowing.

~On the heels of watching Food, Inc. I decided that I needed to make some changes in the way we eat.  I dug up some organic coupons by going to a few sites I found on here, and headed to Harry’s Whole Foods Market.  I found a great recipe on Mojo Chicken that I wanted to try.  It really turned out great.  I felt good about making a dish that had all natural ingredients and wasn’t loaded with sodium or high fructose corn syrup.  I’ve never been a fantastic cook, but I enjoy learning and challenging myself to try new dishes.  Next week I’m excited to try some vegetarian dishes.  Tofu Parmigiana tops the list!

~Not only are we being conscience of our own eating habits, but we are also wanting nothing but the best nutrition for Parker too.  Lately, feeding has been a bit trying as my supply has taken a big dip, and nursing has become a pain again.  For some reason, this seems to happen every time the feeding “schedule” changes.  About a week ago I decided to stop waking Parker up for a 5am feeding and just let him sleep.  I was waking him because I was concerned about his lower percentile in weight, but after talking to the doctor, I decided that I would pump during that feeding, and introduce that missed feeding in with his solid foods during the day.  He’s doing great sleeping 12hrs +/- and now we’re doing three solid meals a day and five nursing sessions.  That worked out just fine until about two days ago.  Parker tried to nurse during the third feeding of the day, and my let-down response was taking forever.  After several mins and lots of cries, the feeding began.  Needless to say, this has made feeding time very frustrating.  I’ve reluctantly introduced formula, but I’m glad that I’ve just let the perfectionist in me go, and as a result I’m stressing less about it.  I’m still pumping or feeding every three hours in order to boost my supply.  I know my supply will get back to where it was…but right now it really sucks. No pun intended.  A friend of mine gave me a book called “Child of Mine: Feeding with love and Good Sense” I’ve heard wonderful things about this book as an empowering guide to fostering a loving relationship between the parent and their child around food.  I’m only on the first chapter, but I’m eager to learn how this can help me to be a good parent when it comes to feeding Parker.

~Remember when I posted the “Forced Motivation” back in November?  Well…I’m back to my pre-preggo weight!  Woohoo!  Unfortunately, pre-pregnancy was also post-holiday too.  That means I still have some LB’s to shed, but in true Sunday Slim-down fashion, here’s my progress…

Isn’t that the “DO NOT BUY” Car?

We decided on the perfect SUV for me and the fam. I got a 2007 Lexus GX470, white with beige interior, fully loaded with dvd entertainment system, nav, third row, the whole shabang. I know what your thinking with all the news out lately…”Isn’t that the DO NOT BUY car?” No, it’s not…Thank God! It fact, it won J.D. Power for “Most Dependable Midsize Premium Multi Activity Vehicle” “Highest Ranked Midsize Premium MAV in Initial Quality” “Most Appealing Midsize Premium MAV in a Tie” for that particular model and that year!

Bling factor aside, I wanted to make sure my new ride was safe and would last a long time.  That was the most important thing to us.  Of course, I wanted all the creature features since we were planning on “driving it until the wheels fell off”, but  within a reasonable financial boundary.  We had two other potential buys (Honda Pilot and the Mercedes GL450 SUV) but they just didn’t come close to the Lexus.

1.Financing: Lexus was offering 1.9% financing for 36 months.  Honda and Mecedes’ rates were in the sixes.  1.9 is an excellent rate for a pre-owned.  I love that its only three years.  Loans that stretch out past 36 months are a pain.  You start resenting the fact that you’re STILL paying for your 3+ year old “new”car.  That’s just me though.

2. Warranty: We got a six year warranty on the Lexus…everything from transmission to navigation is covered for six years.  Honda only has a three year powertrain warranty and Mercedes (we looked at one on the Carmax lot) only had one year left of manufacturer warranty before we would have to buy an extended one.  Since it wasn’t a certified pre-owned Mercedes, the only option was to buy an independent extended warranty, which could be hit or miss.

3. Price:  The 2010 Honda pilot was about the same price as the Lexus, but the  Lexus is way superior of a product, and I had no problem choosing this one even though it’s older, especially since Honda’s financing rate are such crap.   The Mercedes was about 5k more, and if you wanted to add an extended warranty for fear that you would have to shell out lots and lots of dough if something breaks, then that would be another few grand.  We all know how expensive it is to fix a Mercedes if something goes bad.   AND, since we were buying a Lexus, they offered a second pre-owned car (for Dan) for an incredible price.  So incredible in fact, that we were able to pay cash for his ’08 Honda Accord.  SAweeeeeeet!

4. Salesman:  If someone thinks that the salesman doesn’t make a difference when you’re looking for a car, they’re SO wrong.  It totally does.  When we were at Honda, the salesman was such a bone head.  We told him that we didn’t have a lot of time because we had a sitter at home with the baby, but that didn’t seem to matter at all.   It took FOREVA to test drive and look at the vehicle and talk numbers/rates etc.  Also, before we got to drive the car he asked for our insurance (we test drove at three previous places, and they didn’t ask) and Dan said “isn’t the driver covered under the dealer’s insurance?”  He said no, but then after Dan went to get the insurance card, the sales person copied both that and the license, then he later returned only to say that the insurance was not in fact needed for the test drive.  Geesh…  So, basically…the guy was full of bologna.   The Carmax guy who was showing us the Mercedes was really nice.  We would’ve totally bought a car from him if it was the right one.  The Lexus salesperson was SUPER nice too.  His name was Warren, and I almost wanted to call him Warren G by the time it was all said and done, that’s how cool he is.  He showed me everything about the car, and thoroughly answered all of our questions, and gave us a great price on the two cars.  You can’t beat that.

We decided to buy two pre-owned cars this time.  This was in an effort to prevent the mass depreciation that you get when you buy a brand new car.  Our last two cars were leases, and we realized later on that it was probably not the best financial decision.  SO…  we saved money, put a considerable amount down on the Lexus, and paid for the Honda outright.  Dan has purchased over 25 cars  (this is NOT an exaggeration), but this is the very first title that Dan has ever owned.  Yay!  See what good influence I am?  This however, hasn’t affected his credit one bit.  In fact, he has the highest credit score I’ve ever seen.  Yesterday when they ran his credit, his score was 824!  Yowzers!

The Hunt

We’re on the hunt for the perfect car. Dan and I both have our BMW’s coming off lease in May. My X3 is great, but I need more room. Dan’s 335i is nice, but impractical for just a once a week commute to the airport. So, the plan is to get one nice “family” car and one inexpensive car that Dan will use. This past weekend we looked at several dealerships, and did a lot of research on the internet, and here is our top three (today). AND just for the record, I know that SUV’s don’t get the best gas mileage, but considering the fact that I don’t commute 30mins each day to work, and this will be used mainly on the weekends for family outings, I think that prevents any hatin’ from the eco-friendly peeps out there.

1. 2007 LEXUS GX 470 SUV- white, beige interior, moon roof, dvd player, nav, third row, 33k miles, +/-40k
3 year warranty and certified pre-owned

2. 2007 Mercedes GL450 SUV- silver, gray interior, double moon roof, third row, dvd player, nav, 31k miles, +/-44k
1 year warranty

3. 2010 Honda Pilot- White, black inteiror, dvd player, nav, third row, moon roof, leather, 38k 3 year warranty

Which of the three do you like best?

Puuuuwerto Reeeeko!

At least that’s how I like to say it.  Our first real vacation with our little Parker.  Yay!

The flight to PR went really well.  We were bracing ourselves for another cry fest like the flight debacle that happened in December.  Surprisingly, he was a fairly happy baby.  He nursed during take off, and then slept about an hour and a half, and them played with some toys we brought him.  He was such a trooper!

We got lost as hell trying to find the hotel when we arrived.  Believe it or not, the stupid address was NO WHERE to be found on my iphone or Dan’s gps, so we were calling the hotel, turning around in strange neighborhoods with barred up windows.  Thankfully we found the place after calling the hotel and deciphering the Spanish accent.  Why the heck didn’t I pay attention better in high school Spanish class?  Uggh.  While Dan and I were freaking out like we sometimes do, Parker was calm as a clam in the backseat, just happy to be in his car seat and ready to go.

The first impression I had of Puerto Rico was HOT!  It was SO incredibly hot there.  It was in the 90s when we arrived with what felt like 100% humidity.  Which was nice, since we were leaving our beautiful 70 degree and breezy spring weather in Atlanta for what felt like a wet sauna.  Geesh! Our timing is always perfect eh?

The Embassy Suites Dorado, beach and golf resort was a nice family place to stay.  Don’t let those empty pictures of the beach and pool on the website fool you though… that place was packed to the brim.  The beach, the pools, the happy hour bar, and breakfast… it was like someone an entire town got together and decided they would spend spring break in the very same place that we would.  Aren’t we flattered!

The hotel was clean and nice, and besides the over crowding it was perfect for us with little Parker.  Sure, we’ve been a little jaded by the fact that we have stayed in much nicer places in Hawaii and Europe, but things are different now.  We aren’t DINK’s anymore (dual income no kids for those who don’t know) so we gotta make the dolla stretch a bit!

The beach right off the hotel was so beautiful.  Parker loved the sand, and at first glance he didn’t mind the water, but as we brought him closer to dip his toes, he started to get scared of the little waves crashing on his toes.  Could it be true? Could my sweet little Parker pooh not like the beach?  Tell me it isn’t so!

One thing he did love….floating in the pool with his Mama and Dada in his cute tricked out float.  I’m not kidding either. He had the coolest float, that all the other kids were super jealous.  At least that’s what I attribute the cannon balls within inches of us to.  He loved swimming so much in fact that he tried to take the plunge himself a few times.  He loved to dip his head in the water and kick his feet.  I’m almost positive he knows the taste of chlorine and plastic float too.   We acted like goof balls making motor boat sounds and pushing him around in his float.  Parker was all smiles.  Yay! He loves the pool.  Good to know since he will be spending a lot of time there this spring and summer!

That’s where we spent a lot of our time…at the pool.  What people don’t tell you is that it’s definitely not easy traveling with a six month old.  We’d get up, feed him, change him, feed ourselves, shower and get dressed, and go out to do something fun like go to the pool, and before we knew it, it was time for Parker’s nap again.  And if we tried to extended his awake time a bit? Woooah, we would definitely pay for that!  We would have an overtired cranky baby on our hands in public.  Yikes! It’s much harder to soothe a fussy baby when you feel as if the whole world is staring at you.  Nevertheless, those were few and far in between, and he was mostly a happy camper considering he was in a strange place in a different crib, and without his fav toys such as the jumperoo and the exersaucer. We just tried to make it most like home as we could.  We brought the sound machine and he slept in his usual sleep sack and with his lovie, and that seemed to help quite a bit.  One day when we were at the pool, we decided to have lunch at the nearby cafe.  Considering the fact that the name of the place was the Blue Seahourse Cafe, and it being and island surrounded by water, I figured what the heck, I’ll order seafood.  They had a snapper that only came fried…which is not my favorite, but the waitress said it was good, so I decided I’d try it.  So, this is what came out… Yep, fried eyeballs and all.  That was definately a first.  I’m not a fan of my food having a face.  Enough said.

We did however, venture out to Old San Juan one of the days during our trip.  We decided to bite the bullet and just pray that he would fall asleep in his stroller.  Since parking was said to be some of the worst, we were advised to park on the opposite side of the harbor and take the ferry over.  Parker LOVED the ferry.  He was all smiles and he got lots of attention from the people on the ferry.  When we arrived in Old San Juan, man was it HOT!  I think the heat island affect rose the temps by 10 more degrees.  It wasn’t without a fight, but he eventually did go to sleep in his stroller.  I think it was really hard for him because it was just too stinkin’ hot!  We kept reminding him that we were just getting him prepared for hotlanta.  He wasn’t amused.  Old San Juan was pretty.   We walked to the main square where there were street vendors and beautifully colored building facades.  To our surprise though, many of the buildings were empty with Realtor signs in the window.  Even the really pretty ones.  It was a nice walk through town, but defiantly not a shopping mecca by any stretch.  We came across this one shop that was trying to sell us Pre-owned stale jewelry.  Really?  And what the heck is that exactly?  If its anything like stale bread, or chips, they can keep it.  It made for a nice chuckle. So, that was about all we saw of Old San Juan.  It was definately a touristy area.  There were two cruise ships docked at the port and plenty of people filling the streets snapping pics of the colorful buildings and the fort that surrounded the city, just like we were.  Dan wanted to go all the way up the big hill to take a look at the fort, but when he asked me if I was interested, I just stood there and sighed and wiped the sweat off my brow.  In case you didn’t hear me the first time guys…it was freeeegin’ HOT there!  So, we settled for pictures from below.  It was still a cool view.

On Good Friday, since San Juan is majority Catholic, a lot of places were closed.  So, we thought we’d head over to the public beach to get a taste of how the locals lived.  We certainly got exactly what we asked for.  Puerto Ricans aren’t shy about expressing their beach loving lifestyle.  They had Puerto Rican Regaee blasting from their cars, jukebox coolers, boombox and even on their bikes!  This one guy had a makeshift boombox powered by a car battery attached right in front of his bike seat.  Yikes!  Don’t slam on the breaks buddy!  We just couldn’t help but get in the partying mood with all the beach music and laughter around us.  Everyone was cooking out on the beach in the shaded areas.  They were swinging in hammocks, even some people had tents.  It was definately the place to be and the place to be seen.  We captured a more empty part of the beach, but just imagine this with lots and lots of people cooking out and having fun.   One things for sure, they definatly know how to have a good time.

Our last day there we just kept it simple and hung out at the pool some more.  We found a nice shady spot under the palm trees and relaxed.  Parker had fun playing with his toys on the towel and just enjoying the nice ocean breeze.  It was nice to relax together as a family and create some incredible memories.