Monday, July 8, 2013


When you're a family of girls, who get married, it gets confusing when you try to explain families by their names. You're probably already confused. What I mean is.. We are no longer "Monroe's", we are Monroe, Smith, Young, and Johnson. Sturdy names, but not all the same. So to keep others informed and avoid complex description... I will simply say this. We took Monroe family pictures. And they turned out lovely. Kudos goes to Greg Nielsen and his little daughter Emmy for keeping the kiddos happy and entertained all while taking some smashing pics. And sorry Greg for forcing you to make fart noises to get Taj's attention. It works every time. Here ya go!

Can't wait for Abby's little girl to join these buddies. Between her athletic parents, and all these boy cousins, I could be wrong, but something tells me she might be a touch tom-boy. ;)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

gone granola.

So I have in fact, completely unintentionally, gone a little bit granola with motherhood. I was gifted some cloth diapers (which can be pricey as an initial investment) and was originally planning to sell them, cash moneys! But then I got to thinking, well these things are cute... why don't I try them out. I must say, I probably would have written them off completely if it weren't for my friend and neighbor, Rachel, who had her baby girl a few weeks later than me, who was planning on using cloth from the start. I figured, well shoot.. if I have someone's brain to pick, and someone to watch by example... this could totally be doable. And it is!

1st, however I must say, if you don't like getting handsy with baby poo & pee, then maybe this isn't for you... but if you ask me, you're going to get baby poo & pee up in your hands and on your clothes regardless, so this really doesn't make much of a difference in my opinion. And lets be honest, baby pee is like water anyway, so who cares about touchin that biz.

2nd, I decided to wait a couple months to try Taj's out, because I wanted to deal with less poo cloth diapers, and I'm glad I did. I waited until he was pooping once every day or 2 days, and it's been great. Also, if you're kiddo is like mine, and explodes when this time comes (blowouts and newborn poo galore), then I would highly consider cloth, only because these things will trap the crap! Taj leaks pee from time to time, but never blows out poo. High five.

So anyway, while moving in the direction of cloth diapers, I was thinking to myself... well why would I use disposable wipes, do people use cloth wipes too? And I found out that that's a thing too! Haha. I was totally out of the cloth loop here, so I decided to hit Rachel up and see what that was like as well. And again, this has turned out to be a good idea as well, because honestly it doesn't make sense to me to be tossing some stuff in a trash can, and some in a cloth wet bag to be laundered. Why not launder it all? So there I was, ready to purchase some more cloth goods, and to commit to it. I started out like a hybrid, 50/50 cloth/disposables, and am now a 90/10... the 10% being a disposable at night (I don't want him leaking/getting a rash at night, so I don't even bother with cloth here). I have 8 diapers (16 inserts) for Taj, and it's more than enough to get us through 2/3 days!

So anyway, if any of you are curious about this world, here's what goes down in this house.. and it's all really easy if you ask me.

1. Charlie Banana One Size cloth diapers: These are what we were gifted, and I have really loved them. They're a pocket diaper, and they come with liners to stuff in them that you just pull out, and toss in the wet bag when they need a change. I however, do not use the pocket. I place the liner outside of it, and lay a thin cut of fleece on top (micro-fleece from Joann's) to keep Taj's little tush dry. This has worked out very well for us, because I figured, why get the diaper wet, too? Just soak the liner, and toss that if he's only filled it with pee. This method has been good to us, and I would def recommend these diapers. Fair warning though: the sizing strap sneaks into the hole- so be sure to size them tighter than you would think, to try to avoid unnecessary leaking. That said, I know there are LOTS of other cloth diapers out there that are each a little different, that I'm sure are great too. I just like that these are an all in one deal. One size- liners included.

2. Itzy Ritzy Medium Wet Bag: This is what I keep folded up in our diaper bag to toss his dirty diapers into. At first I used to use disposables when I went out (hybrid, remember?), but I found that this was just easier to do, rather than switching before/after going anywhere. The nice thing about this is I can toss wet/spit up clothes or even a wet swimsuit into it while we're out. Handy for sure.

3. GroVia Cloth Wipes: These are the wipes I use for Taj's little bum. I'll explain next about the mixture I make for them, but these are awesome. Thick, absorbent, and soft. I keep them stored in a wipes warmer. They fit perfect and work great.

Wipes Solution:
So, I thought it would be ridiculous and a bit cumbersome to make my own wipes (talk about unnecessary right?!), but quite the contrary. So easy to do, and they smell so good, and work great. So here's the concoction I make, and it's been great.

12 cloth wipes
2 Cups hot water
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp baby wash
5/6 drops of essential oil (ie: lavender, tea tree, etc)

Mix it up, pour it on your wipes (I do this in my warmer), wring it through, lay them down... and fa-lah! You're good to go for 2/3 days, until you need to wash them all with your dirty diapers!

So there you have it. I get most of these things from Amazon (Prime + Amazon credit card = heaven!) And I toss everything into a washable-reusable Diaper Genie bag that I found online HERE. I bought 2, to make sure I always have a clean one ready. I already had the genie and it's a great diaper pail, as is. In fact, you could use these liners even if you were tossing disposable diapers in the trash bins.. just empty them out every few days, and then you wont have to purchase the refills! Just a thought. Also- with regard to onesies- I do have to dress Taj a size up, since the cute little diaps are bigger than disposables. But this isn't a problem for us, since he's such a long body and pretty much needs a size up regardless.

So anyway, this world seemed silly to me, until I jumped in... and I honestly love it! It hardly takes more time to do, and we're saving money by buying disposables seemingly never.  I will say this... I am beyond good at doing laundry. It's one of my domestic strong points, so if you hate laundering, then I guess this isn't for you. But if you're good at it, and you've got your own W/D.. I say go for it!

Stepping off my Hippie soapbox.


Monday, June 10, 2013

fastest year ever.

In January our baby was born, and now it's JUNE. HOLY POO HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!?
Things to document, in addition to things you probably didn't know:

When Taj was born, he was tongue-tied (like Andrew and me: don't worry, we're still both really good kissers), and he had to have his little tongue cut loose in order to eat! He was a champ, and is now the best nurser I know. ...if he's not distracted by a friendly voice of course..

The little man doesn't like dairy (just like his dada), and therefore it has been removed from this dairy diva's diet. If you know me well, you know this was/IS brutal. But helping him to be less gassy and angry at life when pooping was so difficult, made it so much easier. That said, I'm not perfect, and tend to fudge it now and then, and it's a 50/50 if he'll react poorly or not... so I tend to keep tossing the coin.

He has always been an epic sleeper. When he was just a couple weeks old, he started sleeping 6 hours at night. A few weeks later, that progressed to 8, and from the time he was 3 months on, he's been sleeping from 9-730, with a sunrise breakfast at 6. THIS IS HUGE FOR US. Andrew and I were the good sleepers of our family, and the happy babies no less, so I guess that got passed right on down. Lucky us. When we were little we both used to ask to go to bed, and have always needed 10 hours of sleep, so needless to say Taj was a Godsend of a baby. Literally.

Taj has always appeared to be older than he actually is. Everyone assumes he's 2/3 months older, given his alertness, size, and overall very attentive demeanor. His head is huge (adorable but large: 96%-- stuck head and a c-section making a little more sense? haha), and he always measures tall as well. Must have his papa Monroe & gramma Shelley's genes.

He's so content just chilling on someone's lap if he can observe the world around. Everyone asks, "is he usually this chill?" The answer is yes, he's one calm kiddo.

He's also a chatty Cathy at home, and a shy guy when we leave. This is a tie to his observant nature. He's a lot like his mama in that regard. He loves to be the life of the party when it's an intimate setting, and just take a backseat and take it all in when he's a small fish in a big pond.

He LOVES music. Being sung to is his favorite thing ever. Which is good, because Andrew loves to make up songs, and already has a handful for Taj, that he's grown to love and get excited over whenever he sings them to him. It's really the most precious thing.

He's also decided that he now is a thumb sucker. He was over the pacifier after a month, and decided a week ago that the thumb was a good idea. He did it in utero, but this is definitely shown up as a habit now.

He gets SO hyper right before he goes to bed. When we lay him in his crib to sing him to sleep, he goes NUTS. Giggles, shouts, kicks, and the cheesiest smiles ever. It's our favorite. We listen to him squeal himself to sleep until he passes out. Haha.

Man, he is our favorite thing ever. He is such a good baby, and I am so in love with him. I never expected to be that kind of mom. I just assumed, I'd grow to love him from serving and nurturing him, but this is something else. I get it now. I ADORE him. He makes me want 5 more.

So thankful to be his mama. So so thankful.

Monday, April 1, 2013

taj's birthday.


Alrighty, it's been a long time coming. You may or may not be one of those individuals who likes to hear other people's birth stories... and either way that's cool, because I'm actually writing this down simply so I don't forget! Woo! Public journal entry! I've got a lot of it on video (thanks babe) but I still want it in writing. So here it is...

So there I was, on a Thursday night (3 days till D-day).. anxiously awaiting the start of labor. Early on in my pregnancy when I was being monitored frequently, Taj always measured a week early. That said, I decided for my own sanity, I would think nothing of it. THAT said, it was really hard not to when the last couple of weeks rolled around. This was partly a problem because I HONESTLY FELT DONE. He was done cooking, I just knew it. And I WAS RIGHT. Let me explain...

So there I was again, that Thursday night... going to bed with things packed, Taj kicking and twisting in ways he shouldn't at that point, and tired as always. I had felt irregular contractions for about a week, coming and going for no longer than half an hour. So I knew the difference when I woke up the middle of that night in pain. REAL contractions. Coming and going. Thanks to my handy contraction app I knew they were 5 minutes apart, and about 45 seconds long. Such an interesting thing to me, that when they stop, the pain just goes away! I imagined some residual lingering pain or discomfort after a contraction, but that's not the case. So crazy. Anyway, this went on for an hour. Hospital said to call at this point, so I did. They said "ok, once they get to 3 minutes apart, call us back." They knew this wouldn't be a problem for me since I live literally less than 5 minutes away. So there I went... contraction after contraction, waiting for them to get closer together. Another hour goes by, so I call mother. In a nut shell I tell her this is it... she hops in her car and takes off at about 2/3am. At this point several hours pass me by... still regularly contracting, but only every 5 minutes, for a minute long. I WAS EXHAUSTED! I was so tired, and sick of the pain... that I literally just passed out and fell asleep for AN HOUR. And lucky me, I woke up and my contractions had completely backed off! Magically they were now every 10 minutes. SO FUN! I was pissed. Anyway, we woke up, I told Andrew to go to work, and that I'd see him at my doctor appointment that was in a few hours. (at least I had THAT going for me.. I knew I would get "checked" and I would find out what the heck was going on!) My mom was almost up here, so she'd be able to take me to the hospital and/or my appointment, whatever came first....

The appointment came first. Mom took me, Andrew met us, and my sweet sweet OB checked me out, and told me all that labor only got me dilated to a 1. ALL THAT LABOR. Mom essentially says, forget this, we're getting those 10 minutes back down to where they need to be. COMMENCE WALKING THE MALL. And guess what!? Gross stuff started happening, aka leaving my body... which is a sign that serious stuff was afoot! I had never been so excited to see a "mucous plug" in my life! At least I had THAT going for me...

Well a whole day of wanting to die, continual grossness leaving my body included, they didn't come any closer than 7 minutes together... and that was at best. They were beginning to be very irregular. Awesome. The night came, and I was so so exhausted at this point that I slept like a rock.. contractions and all. I wake up, and it continues. It's Saturday at this point. Andrew had film plans, which I said was fine by me, I had mom... and heaven only knew when this labor was going to really move along. Mom and I take off for a morning walk. Gotta love those 9 monthers out there on the street trying to move things along, haha. It picked up my contractions, but again, they were simply not close enough. This was the pits. I told mom NO MORE WALKING. I didn't care anymore, I was just going to deal with this. Redbox it was. And I must remind you, these were REAL intense contractions coming and going all day everyday at this point. So painful AND exhausting...

Later they started to show up again more frequently, it felt like they were only closing in closer and closer. I decided to shower, and sure enough they kept a comin'. Night fell, and we again tried to sleep knowing we had NO IDEA what would happen by morning. And thank goodness, I was awoken by the strongest contractions yet, every 3 minutes, a minute a piece, for an hour... I called, acted super put out... and whalah! THEY SAID TO COME IN!

Andrew and I left around 2. This was my second full day of contractions, and my second intense night of them... I was ready for this. They hooked me up, checked me out.... and what do you know I'm only at a 1 and a half! SHOOT ME NOW. My saving grace was truly ironic... I was both thankful and terrified... Taj's heart-rate kept dropping really low, so my nurse wanted me admitted regardless. WOOHOO, I WAS IN THE FOR THE LONG HAUL, stressed out baby and all!

6ish-am, they check me again... 3cm! Things were moving along. And really well at that point considering the heafty jump from 1.5 to 3 within a couple hours. So I said to them... awesome, since I'm finally checked in, and I've been hanging out with these awesome contractions for over 2 days, CAN I GET AN EPIDURAL? I was open to trying this delivery sans-medicine, but not anymore. Not after contracting for nearly 3 days. You'd be asking for drugs, too. An hour later, I was feeling like a million bucks. I could wait this out no problem.

They check me a couple hours later, and wooo...4! Still moving. Heart-rate still dipping, oxygen mask still off and on for the poor boy inside. I really just wanted to get this over with so he could be out and safe.

They check me a couple hours later. 4. Alrighty.... no big deal. They decided to break my water at this point to keep things moving. A couple hours later, 4. Not looking good. The good news was, I was going to have my baby within the day, and my OB happened to be the one on the floor working that night! I LOVE HER. ((yes, we have Kaiser, and they actually keep their delivery floor full of midwives and alternate their OB's shifts... so you may or may not get to see yours when you have your baby)) But lucky me, she was in... and was aware of what was going on.

She comes in to check me a couple hours later... still at a 4. And this was surprising because my contractions were showing on the monitor as being off the charts, strong... so she decides to do a more thorough check internally. What does she find? Oh... just Taj's head, stuck in my pelvis. Unable to press on my cervix THUS causing DAYS of contractions and NO progression.


But at this point, I was ready, so ready to have him out, so ready to be off of oxygen and paranoid about his poor little heart-rate, so ready to be done with pregnancy, so ready to stop contracting, and so ready to meet and hold my baby! A c-section was no longer scary, and the only option.

We get prepped, and wheeled into the room. I still remember the look on my OB's face as she makes her best attempt to 'dislodge' the boy before she could cut me open. She was pushing on his little head with all of her might, trying to move him back up to make his exit another way. The curtain goes up, Andrew comes in (stoked on his getup- and camera in hand).

And without warning, everything was hooked up, ready, and moving along, when after a few josling motions and shoves to my belly, out he came. Faint little sounds coming from the baby that was being carried to the corner to be cleaned and tended to. My body went warm, my eyes welled up. That was him. He was here. I looked over and could see his little arms and legs moving. Andrew went over to meet him and told me how beautiful he was. It was heaven. That operating room was heaven. They bring him to me, I kiss this little person that was now mine, and he was taken to the delivery room to be cared for until I was finished. So unreal. They stitch me up, scoot me to my new bed, and wheel me in, where I find my family all simultaneously FaceTiming the sweet new baby I had yet to meet. His bath was done, and it was time for me to hold him. What a tender moment.

Those 3 days in the hospital were the best days of our lives. We drive by that place with fondness.

I can't believe it really happened. Even now I look at that little baby, now so grown up 2 months later cooing and smiling on the floor, and can't believe how blessed I am. He is really a dream come true.

I love you, Taj. Your dadda loves you, too.
You're the best thing that's ever happened to us.

Love, mama.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Well here we are... playing the waiting game. I continue to tell people that I never used to understand the women who get to their last couple of weeks and start consta-complaining. I always figured, heck ladies... you'll never be alone again without that child to think about for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. ENJOY YOUR LAST MOMENTS! But I can honestly say now. I GET IT. I'm so sorry for ever thinking you were being a bit silly. You so were not. You were simply carrying something that magically started to get astronomically uncomfortable. AND you are just so unbelievably anxious to meet the little thing! I mean, what the heck does the baby even look like anyway!? You want to meet what's been taking refuge on the inside for the last GAJILLION months.. and it makes the last couple of weeks seem practically UNBEARABLE! So forgive me. I'm there with you. But I'm also trying to stand by my own less-understanding-self's advice. I gotta enjoy these moments... because soon enough I will be a mother for the rest of my life. And I'm perfectly okay with that. (:

Andrew wanted to get some final shots of my massive self, you know, just in case I'm one of the lucky ones who gets to meet their tiny one just a touch early. (;

Can't wait to meet you bud. Just do me a solid, and stop flipping around so we can do this the easy way. (:
See you soon!


Sunday, October 14, 2012


Sandwiched between two unpleasant colds, was the most dreamy 2 week vacation Andrew and I have had in ages. Originally before we knew we were expecting a baby, we had planned this trip for a couple of reasons. First we needed our 5 year anniversary to feel special (well I did, especially since a baby was no where in the scope of things at the time), secondly Andrew and I had set some financial goals, and a trip at the end of the 'goal' year was on the menu, and third we had been telling our friends the Nelsons that we were planning to visit for YEARS... and it was high time we made it happen! The fact that it would be our last 'trip for 2' was just a complete bonus! Not a bad way to spend time when you're 6 months pregnant. WE LOVED EVERY MINUTE.

This trip was not without its hiccups, of course. Andrew woke up with the worst version of my cold the morning of our flight (man cold, am I right?), and left us on hotel/bed rest the whole first day of our trip. And prior to leaving home, just as we were getting ready to head to the airport (minutes till departure), Hippo bolted out of our yard and was HIT BY A VAN. Talk about intensity at it's finest. Luckily he's as solid as a bolder, and only ended up with a cut lip and a fear for hubcaps. The poor guy. That said, Andrew was a wreck the whole flight over, hoping to get that update on how he was doing. Needless to say Andrew was put through the ringer... the guy definitely needed this vacation.

Speaking of, Andrew still dreams of walking down to the beach on a whim... you know, because it's just at the end of the street, or it happens to be just below your waterfront deck. He and I see that lifestyle in our future. One not tied to computers or 10-12 hour work days. The boy spent a good amount of time planning things he wanted to film and work on the next time we go. And I'm sure he'll make it happen. What a lovely life. One filled with a sandy car, crispy shoulders, and the freshest fish.

Erin & Aaron, thank you so much for partying with us/hosting our stay! WE LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH. You are some of the best friends we could ever ask for... and don't even get us started on Swede. We miss him so... And to our other island friends, it was so fun getting to see you all! You lucky ducks, you. (:

Anyway, photo warning: bare bellies ahead. Don't get me started on the dilemma of wearing swimsuits when you're ladies have grown 4 times their normal size, in addition to an ever expanding belly. Andrew also got a little camera happy, enjoying himself with the 'maternity' shots. What can I say, he loves the baby bod.

Until next time... 
with a baby in tow...