live hands free


This is something I am working on as well. To be more present. To overcome the fear of missing something which she already has (which is why she fights sleep.) I need to provide a balanced example.

Originally posted on Solo Mama:

Hi. My name is Lindsay, and I am addicted to my iPhone.

I am not proud of this.

Texting. Facebook messenger. Instagram. Blogging. I check it compulsively. Standing in line at the grocery store. Relaxing on the couch. Cooking dinner. Sitting on the toilet.

I am not proud of this.

It is no wonder Evelyn’s favourite toys include fake phones.

Last night my phone was in the other room and Evelyn gasped, “Oh no mama! Where you phone?” before running to get it and bringing it to me. She was worried – the look in her eyes made it seem as if I was missing an appendage for gods sake.

I am not proud of this.

But I can fix this. And I will.

One of my favourite blogs is Hands Free Mama. Rachel’s blog has inspired me countless times, and always reminds me of what’s really important. The…

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First camping trip with the baby

Our first trip should have been 4th of July weekend. Without that one it was a long summer before this camping trip! We went to Golden Gate Canyon State Park which is the closest mountain park with camping (as far as I could tell). It’s very popular for that reason, as well as being beautiful. Back in May I went through every upcoming weekend and this was the first one available. However, there were a lot of open sites when we were there from people who never showed up. Nor did anyone actually check if we were who we said we were. Interesting…

We originally planned to be up there in the afternoon but the week was rough, as it always is with a baby, so we didn’t get up there until around 8pm. Part of the problem was not knowing our campsite number because apparently I can’t read. :-P Mommy brain got me there. First I misread the number, putting us in the wrong camp area. Once i figured that out we found the right area but didn’t know the exact number. We drove around the loop and I looked at the tags on every open site. Once we found it we were glad it was very close to parking and starting unloading.

We rented a tent from Outdoors Geek, which I highly recommend if you’re in the Denver area, or really anywhere as they will ship you the gear. We rented the Marmot Limestone 6 tent. First thing, they really needed pictures with their instructions. We figured it out, but reading a lot of small text isn’t fun when it’s quickly getting dark. My wife did a good job though and if it wasn’t for the rocky ground I think we would have gotten it looking like it should. The tent was large enough for us and our stuff and it was warm enough for the chilly mountain nights which was great. The one complaint we have is the mesh starts pretty low to the ground, leaving no real privacy without the rain-fly on. We got a little warm when trying for our Saturday afternoon nap but didn’t want to take off the fly. We’re going to test out at least two more tents before deciding on a purchase probably.

Since we got in so late we didn’t start a fire, which was good since the two bundles we bought in Golden burned very quickly and were only enough for Saturday night. Instead we had eaten before getting in and had a few snacks. Then we went to bed. Melody wore pj’s for the first time since she was 2 weeks old and grandma insisted on them. We also put her in her alpaca hat which kept her plenty warm in the sleeping bag with us. Thankfully we got a pair of pj’s in the last batch of clothes my mom sent down (literally only one pair which just fit her. lol) We slept in our clothes and were warm enough. It was down to the 40’s that night I think. The next night was a little warmer so even more comfortable.

IMG_7340 IMG_7378

The next morning we learned that our camp stove didn’t have the propane hookup it needed. I’m pretty sure I learned that the prior year as well and just forgot. Lesson learned there. We could have started a fire and hard boiled eggs, but instead decided to head into ‘town’ and eat. The altitude was affecting us so minimizing our efforts was a good idea. We ate at the Last Shot which was rather good and a lot of food. I recommend it for anyone in the area. When we returned we got Melody down for all of a half hour because it was too hot and she hates naps lately. Since my wife still needed to sleep I took the baby and headed to the office to use the good (aka not stinky flush) toilets. While there I saw two trails and decided to do a little hike. I have a Kelty kids carrier, but didn’t know how easy it would be to take off myself so went with the trusty Ergo baby 360 along with my new hiking poles since I can’t see my feet when she’s on my chest. It was a pretty steep trail that was all downhill at first. I turned around after about 10 minutes because I knew I’d have to go back up and the altitude had me breathing hard with exertion. Not that it takes much to do that. When we got back to the start we took the nature trail leg which is much easier. We turned around, however, when two squirrels got very angry with us and basically chased us off. I left before they physically chased after us. On that hike alone we saw 3 different types of squirrels which was cool.


That evening my wife built a very good fire. We used it to boil water to hard boil those eggs in case we wanted them in the morning. We cooked hamburgers and hot dogs and I ate one of each with baked beans that we brought. It was delicious. Then it was time for baby bed time. Once she was down, and out like a rock, I got back up and made a few smores. Sooooo good! I also cleaned up the area and partially repacked in preparation for the next morning. Right when I was just sitting and enjoying it outside Melody woke up so she came out to watch the fire for a while. She definitely enjoyed that. Oh, and in another random animal story, a hummingbird scared the crap out of my while holding her, flying really close to my head! lol That was the first hummingbird I’ve seen in the woods. Later the same thing happened to my wife. Very cool but also a bit odd.

The next morning I slowly packing things up as organized as I could be. We have two plastic tubs that hold our stuff and I knew I wouldn’t re-organize once home. I think I did a good job! I want to mention the things that were most helpful on this trip.

  1. Headlamps. Holy crap are these awesome. They are a must have. We got ours on sale here.
  2. Foam mattress. I have had only bad luck with air mattresses. I’m so glad we did this instead, even if it takes up a lot of room in the truck. It keeps us warm and is pretty comfortable. Much nicer than an air mattress.
  3. Collapsible water container. I wanted a good way to do dishes so tried two things. I used the small plastic container that I normally soak breastfeeding stuff in. And I got this collapsible bucket. I like that it is small but it’s hard to keep from collapsing. It might be better with more water since it wanted to collapse in, not out. Either way, the combination worked pretty well and I could use the water to douse the campfire at night.
  4. Refreezable bricks. These I stumbled on as an alternative to water ice that lasts for days. We bit the bullet and used three of them, plus an 8 hour ice pack, in our big cooler. In there we had a bottle of breast milk (just in case), eggs, meat, and a few drinks. While it wasn’t as cold as liquid ice, everything stayed cool and did not spoil. We used the milk last night and today so it worked well. We have them in ziplock bags to protect them further since that is mentioned in the comments.
  5. Go pod. This may or may not be good next year but for this year it was critical. With hard ground and rocks all over we needed a safe place to put her where she wouldn’t roll off. We’ve used this at home as well and know she likes it. She had a blast, though she didn’t tolerate being put down as well as normal since it was all so new. It was still helpful. I recommend it for people with little ones.
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  7. Solar tent light. This was great in the tent. Clean light and I don’t have to worry about spare batteries! Hooray!
  8. Solar cell charger. This was even more important in hindsight. We’ll make sure this is fully charged next time and that we use it throughout instead of charging my phone using the truck and then killing the batter. lol What’s cool is both solar chargers can be charged with the headlamps if in a pinch. :-)
  9. Propane lantern. There’s just no substitute for the amount of light these lanterns throw out. I have an LED lantern and it sucks in comparison. We got one for only $10 used with a hard case. It’s a great deal.

Things I need to change going forward is obviously the camp stove and finding a good source of firewood that burns longer than the stuff at the gas station. At some point our queen sized sleeping bag won’t be sufficient for our kid and she’ll need her own stuff. And we still need to find the right tent for us. Hopefully that all goes smoothly next year.

Finally, before we left I killed the battery on the truck charging my iphone. So don’t do that. Thankfully there was a group nearby who hadn’t left and who had jumper cables (mine had been stolen without me realizing it). They were super nice and played with Melody while the truck was started. It was a nice little social time at the end of a very relaxing and overall peaceful weekend. Unfortunately now it’s getting too late in the season to go again unless we brave October weather. We’ll see how we feel. The roads are rather windy heading out there so if the weather isn’t good my wife will have a panic attack. And I might as well. We do have a trip to Glenwood Springs set for my birthday in November, so if nothing else we have that.
So that’s our first camping trip. Overall, pretty well with the baby. Rookie mistakes included leaving her to play with a shoe without realizing she would eventually notice the ground and pick up a wood chip along with lots of dirt/rocks and try to chew on them. Letting her fall off the mattress and learn the hard way how hard the ground is. Not checking gear before we left. Overall we’re happy with how things went and we’re learning a bit more each time we go out. :-) I hope the links are helpful to all you young parents. If anyone in Colorado has recommendations for places near Denver but up in the mountains to get away for a day I appreciate it. There are so many parks it’s hard to narrow it down. It’s a good problem to have though!

A reminder that other pictures are here.

First camping trip pictures 

I will hopefully blog details tomorrow. For now, pictures. 

These are at Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Colorado. 


Picture roundup

Catching up some pictures 


at the museum’s mother’s room


touching crystals at the museum


the letter of the day is T


Standing like a prq


Posted in Melody. Tags: . 5 Comments »

6 months + 2 weeks

This kid isn’t slowing down for anyone! She’s easily pulling herself up on people and if you just hold her hands for support. She crawls in her own way wherever she wants. She’s taken to nursing acrobatics, getting on her stomach with her butt in the air, or laying on her side with her foot up on my hip. All this with the world’s shallowest latch. She’s just too stubborn to fix at this point.

She says ‘goo’ (good) all the time. She also says mmmm for food. It’s adorable. The baby fence has returned to the living room to keep her saver since she’s all over the place otherwise. She’s getting better at fighting sleep as well. At this moment my wife is in the bedroom trying to get her over the hump. The whole sequence lately goes like this. Nurse, pop on and off a bunch, roll around, refuse to fall asleep. Mama takes her, she cries or screams bloody murder. I take her back for some nursing and comfort which gets her more tired. She either falls asleep there or like tonight goes back to mama for more close holding until the cries stop and she’s asleep. It can take an hour. Inquisitive kids can be challenging! I don’t know what we’ll do as she gets older.

She loves books. She’s really enjoying the tactile books right now, but enjoys all her books and will go for them. I’m realizing how poorly many baby books are written and hope my wife can help correct that. Even the good ones break their rhythm or just don’t have a good flow to me. I think that gets better as the books get more detailed.

We keep introducing foods. Lately it’s been a lot of sugar. Cinnamon rolls from cici’s, frozen custard and whipped cream, but also watermelon, honeydew and kiwi. She had some pizza crust last night as well. Her favorite appears to be banana, though the cinnamon rolls may take over if we aren’t careful. lol

Over the weekend she was throwing up and in pain so we visited children’s hospital which is only a few minutes away. They said it was just a virus that probably hit harder because of her vaccinations. It was a tiring night but at least she was ok. Otherwise she’s quite healthy. She’s been gaining percentiles like crazy. I don’t think I included her stats last time. On Aug 11 she was 16 lbs 4 ounces (49%) 27 inches long (86%) and 17 cm head circumference (73%). I think this is what we get for picking a tall donor. lol

My parents visit starting labor day weekend so that will be interesting. They can’t wait to spend time with her. Her other grandma needs to make herself scarce so they can maximize their time. I know it’s hard for them not to get to enjoy her and this time but that’s the way things go. Thankfully we have the internet to share videos and pictures.

I better get the dishes loaded so there are bottles for tomorrow and so I can get some sleep!

6 months +1 week

We took pictures on her 6 month birthday! Woohoo! I’ll try to remember the new things happening.

 She loves food. Seriously, loves. The other day she had her first eggs, cotton candy, broccoli and pickle. We have a video of her lemon face (which she still keeps eating). She will eat anything you put in front of her – except puffs. Those just aren’t food to her apparently. :-) Oh, I taught her how to lick an ice cream cone yesterday while waiting at Jason’s Deli. Well, she taught herself. First she tried to bury her face in it, and then stuck out her tongue. I just helped along by maneuvering the cone. It was adorable. And yes, I’m getting quite used to eating after the slobber monster, with some exceptions.

 Movement is coming along. She now hops and moves each hand forward before kind of hopping again. She’s strong enough to pull herself up on pillows as of this morning, so I have to clean off the headboard or risk it all being in her mouth. She loves to jump in her jumper and tried to hang herself (by the belly) with her bouncer. I think the bouncer is now done. She will ‘walk’ if you support her a decent amount. She loves that. She also pulled herself up last week with her toy box, which then fell over. She hasn’t pulled herself up since, but it will happen again soon.

She’s been lifting her arms up to be picked up for a while. She’s started using her fingers curing into her hand to say come here, since we do that to her. She plays with the tiny bit of hair she has. That’s not really new but I don’t know if I mentioned it before. She loves to play and chew on things. Still no teeth. That makes 3 months of teething, with no end in site. We’ll see if the doctors care at her appointment in the morning.

She enjoys sesame street and many other shows. If a screen is on, she’s paying attention much of the time. She’s obsessed with our phones which makes sense. This morning she got mine while it was locked. I eventually took it away and she cried. That’s a new development. Crying in response to having things taken isn’t fun.

She’s no an expert nap avoider. Today she had 1! nap. This morning. I nursed her 3 times and while she was half asleep during, when she was done she popped right up. Well, she rolled over and was up. Let me tell you, wrangling this child is not easy. She’s so strong and determined! Diaper changes and nursing can get challenging. I love it but I wish I could reason with her.

She’s just barely in her 6-9 month clothes and nearing the end of her 1 month in size 2 diapers. We got a ton of hand me downs from some relative I don’t really know that my mom sent down with my nephew (he’s here for the week). So just when we were running out we have some more clothes. That’s pretty awesome. We need to go through the smaller stuff now.

We are simultaneously so proud of our Melody, yet at a loss when she doesn’t want to do things like nap. Or nurse because there’s food in her line of sight. Or let us change her diaper. lol It really is far much more joy than anything though. She laughs even when upset. She’s pretty easy to distract, especially with food. She’s embracing all that life has to offer in her short life so far and it’s adorable to watch. I share a lot of it on Instagram because it’s fun.

Now, how am I doing 6 months post partum? I continue to go to physical therapy which is super helpful. If you have pain after about 2 months post partum, go to a physical therapist that specializes in post partum therapy. You don’t have to suffer. So, back to the update. Last week was hard. My hormones hit really hard and I literally cried all day (or at least teared up). It was the same day Melody decided to pull up and it was just too much. I was missing her and hating having to be at work. Plus, my supply was down. I believe it was the hormones. So pumping sucked and I missed her and I couldn’t enjoy her. Thankfully that night I took a good shower and felt better. Hormones are a bitch! So far no bleeding so I hope it was a temporary fluctuation. I have my women’s physical on Wednesday with the midwives because I don’t want to wait to go to the VA next year. For a few months I had some random pains in my abdomen which worried me. It turns out that my body was missing the baby. When I learned that I could open up consciously and let her energy in more. I felt my abdominal area humming and haven’t had any pains in that area since (besides the normal muscle stuff). I’m less worried about my visit now. I’m bringing her so hopefully at least on person will be there who remembers us. :-)

Breast feeding is always a challenge, but now because of her eating habits. At work, pumping is typically two sessions of 40-60 minutes long (with breaks, basically I power pump every day). I had gotten up to two full bottles with that first pump before the hormone issue. Either way, when I get home she only eats off one side. I really need to pump the other side once I go back to work next week. Then she goes to bed so early that she only nurses each side once, before midnight. Then whatever she does in the middle of the night/morning. I think that was hurting my supply. I do have a little stash going of about 10 bottles (4-5 ounces is what I call a bottle). But it’s hard to maintain supply at times so I’m going to refocus and pump the other side after she’s done. I’m also working to pump while on vacation, which would be easier without an almost 12 year old boy in the house. I’m learning to be discreet enough to get it done while in the same room though. It’s all about balance. In any case, I feel confident enough that I donated around 34 ounces (all that remained of what I received from a donor) to someone who needed it more. Since it was roughly 6 months old it needed to be passed on or used asap. Right now my stash is almost the same as what I received from donation two months ago. Pretty awesome! I really hope to donate more in the future. I’m experimenting with nutritive yeast tablets, oatmeal, and flax meal. If that helps enough I can really build a stash and donate. I was even thinking that it could be interesting to wet nurse, though there isn’t much of a system in place for that and I don’t know anyone who needs it. I think it shows how comfortable I’m becoming with all this though. I’m halfway to my next goal of 1 year. At that point she won’t need as much and I can evaluate how often I pump.

All in all, I hate being away from her so much. I’m still learning to focus at work and get things done. I hope we have some new income streams coming in by next year so we can save for a house and give her a yard of her own. But for now, I’m grateful for her every day. Her hugs, the way she curls in when she finally sleeps, her kisses and laughs. Such a depth of love that I didn’t know was possible. I wish it would just slow down a little so I could take it in more. She’s not slowing down though, so I have to keep up.

First bongos 


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